There are times when a hurting or broken relationship could be restored with a simple apology.
There are moments when saying, “thank you” for help received, could strengthen trust, and foster a new connection with another.
It is in these times that we must make a very difficult choice. Do we stand firm on being right, or do we follow the healthy path and do what is right for the relationship.
Trouble is, many of us have not learned the power and value of being humble. We are not willing to make a minor sacrifice of ego or face in order to build something vital and healthy.
There are a handful of real and reasonable phrases that proclaim a state of correctness and are unfortunately used as an excuse for not meeting another human being halfway.
I have a RIGHT to be upset
I DESERVE an apology
It is the PRINCIPLE of the matter
I am JUSTIFIED in my reaction
It’s not my FAULT they are so sensitive
In select cases, I have heard others almost saying, “I am allowed” to be in this state. As if they were waiting for an opportunity where the would be justified in a large reaction and letting go of that opportunity is not something they are willing to take lightly.
Others seem to be fearful that they will lose respect, status, or inherent value if they were to be the first to admit to how their participation accelerated or heightened the encounter.
Some believe that the situation is a win/lose encounter and that if they apologize or give thanks, they will lose and that is not acceptable to their nature.
In other situations, people seem to be trapped by their own black and white view of the situation and do not seem to be capable of bending that view easily.
Whether it is a choice or a mental block, it is often true that the effort needed to move beyond these thoughts for the benefit of the relationship is not applied and no action is taken for the better.
Improvisation has allowed me to understand the power of the apology and the thanks. By giving an apology for my part in things, I do not lose respect, I gain it. By extending my hand first, I am not weaker, I am stronger; nor am I losing, I am winning. By seeking to understand the purpose behind the other person’s actions, I am gaining something of greater value than the opportunity to be right.
Once you begin to empathize and apologize or connect and thank, it becomes possible to find a new satisfaction in facilitating healing in the relationship and valuing that above any of the other trappings of our own ego or viewpoint.
Try it this week. Meet the other person halfway. Give them an honest show of gratitude without believing you will be weaker for it. Apologize for your part in things without worry that you will lose.