top of page

Could the reluctance to say 'sorry' be the silent culprit eroding the trust in your relationships?

Could the reluctance to say 'sorry' be the silent culprit eroding the trust in your relationships?

Is the fear of vulnerability preventing you from uttering the word that could mend what’s broken?

Yes, I am talking about the 5-letter word–sorry.

Oftentimes, I hear people casually joke that they’d prefer enduring the excruciating ordeal of a root canal than making a simple apology. It makes me wonder if there’s some sort of “Avoiding Apologies 101” course somewhere, where a dental chair seems to be more appealing. Heck, do they not know expressing remorse is a painless dental procedure as no drills required? Pun intended.

If you're a part of Generation X or were raised by Gen X parents, you might be familiar with one of Chicago's top hits, pleading for a girl to stay while justifying that saying sorry is simply a difficult task. The song resonated with many, as people often anticipate sympathy for the challenge of saying sorry rather than introspectively questioning why uttering this 5-letter word is so darn difficult..

One most common misconception people have about apologies is that admitting wrongdoing makes them appear weak or inferior, posing a threat to their self-esteem and ego. Indeed, saying sorry, requires a high level of emotional vulnerability.

Cultural and gender norms heavily influence how individuals perceive and express their remorse. There might be an emphasis on maintaining face, making apologies more challenging. Additionally, societal expectations add another layer, masking the act of apologizing as a sign of weakness.

Saying sorry can also trigger feelings of shame. For those who have had awful or even manipulative past experiences, uttering an apology can be as daunting as those been-there-done-that bungee jumps.

To overcome the difficulty in saying sorry requires the understanding and practice of self-love. In this article I explore the bond between self-awareness and self-love. With such awareness established, we wouldn’t associate apologies with shame and ego, but rather as a pathway to inner peace.

As 2024 is knocking on the door, how about we spice things up with a challenge or a goal (your call) to prioritize self-love? Let's bid farewell to the days of 'Oh, for the love of God, just apologize already!' and welcome a year of embracing ourselves with unconditional love and maybe a little dance move or two. Below, I’m sharing some practical, tried-and-true tips that I have found useful:

Maintain a Growth Mindset

Re-establish or readjust the belief that the ability to apologize and grow from circumstances is a sign of strength and resilience. Regardless of whether our apologies are accepted, we experience growth the moment we realize that this five-letter word, 'sorry,' brings more value to us than harm.

Normalizing Apologies

Perhaps all of us have been giving the act of apologizing more attention than necessary. In reality, it is no more than a part of healthy communication.

Consistent Self-Reflection

Self-reflection shouldn't be a task reserved for when things go south but rather a daily habit. By doing so, we can recognize that apologizing is merely a way of taking responsibility for our behavior and holding ourselves accountable.

Improve Communication Skills

Even when we know it's going to be uncomfortable, let's stop believing that the problem will disappear if we just pretend it never happened. On the contrary, unresolved issues are like mold – they spread when ignored.

Connect Apologies to Personal Values

This is something people tend to neglect as we love to brag about our integrity, humility, compassion, and so forth, but often fail to realize that having trouble apologizing does not align with these values.

When it comes to human connections, the unspoken sorry often echoes louder than words left unuttered. Don’t let the absence of “sorry” turn small misunderstandings into permanent scars. Instead, value apology as the rhythm that was once the missing link, bridging conflict and resolution. We now embark on a beautifully choreographed journey towards deeper, more meaningful relationships.


bottom of page