These two little words mean so much. They clear the air, they help the hurt, they humble the soul, they right the wrong, they create a sense of peace, they remove the angst, they invite love, and they clean the slate.
My teenage son and I had been fighting for months during his sophomore year of high school. Our relationship was in trouble, and I felt like I was losing him. I couldn’t see his point of view; I refused to give in; I insisted that I was right. Things were getting worse. One day I thought about everything that had been happening to us, and after carefully examining the events of the previous few months, I had an “aha” moment. I realized that I wasn’t seeing anything from his perspective and refusing to empathize with him.
One evening during dinner, I shared with him what I had discovered about myself. He sat there, face of steal and looking down.
I said to him, “I haven’t been listening to you or trying hard enough to see your side. I’m sorry.”
The muscles on his face relaxed. He looked up at me. The ice melted. This single event changed our relationship. Saying I’m sorry showed my son that I make mistakes as a parent. “I’m sorry” helped the hurt, humbled our souls, created a sense of peace, removed the angst, invited the love, and cleaned the slate.
Every day we move through life interacting with people at work, at home, and at play. Every day presents an opportunity to show kindness, understanding and love. When I do something that calls for an apology, I say I’m sorry. I am always amazed at how the tension melts away at work when I admit my mistakes and say I’m sorry; or how my relationship with my son continues to flourish when I admit my mistakes.
Saying I’m sorry is a gift. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.