Sometimes, saying sorry doesn’t erase the pain caused. It does not matter that it was only an unfortunate word, a bad punctual gesture or a more serious offense, of those that leave their mark. Speaking out an apology does not act as a magical spell capable of appeasing the second contradiction, offense or the mark of disappointment. That repair requires more actions and details.
A “I’m sorry” allows us to see that the other person regrets something in particular, that there is regret and that as such, is positive and necessary. However, it takes something that goes further. To appease the pain caused, gestures, intentions and subsequent behaviors oriented to change are necessary, aimed at repairing and not falling back into those behaviors that caused damage.
This assessment is important, for example, in education. Often, we become obsessed with instilling in children the courage to say “I’m sorry” when they do something inappropriate; however, we don’t worry about teaching them what comes next. In revealing how they can repair the damage caused
If you do not, your apologies will be empty, hollow and cheap. An authentic sorry requires including certain “ingredients” that every person should learn early . Only then will we take better care of our relationships, being convincing, sincere and skilled in emotional intelligence .
Saying sorry doesn’t erase the pain caused, you need to include more ingredients
Dr. Robert Trivers, professor of psychology at Harvard University, is one of the greatest experts in reciprocal altruism. He is considered the founder of sociobiology and has published very interesting works on the act of apologizing . In this way, something interesting that Dr. Trivers suggests to us is that a good part of the times in which forgiveness is requested is not done sincerely.
Saying sorry does not erase the pain caused because we perceive that the apologies are not entirely authentic. The reason for this is in a very concrete fact: we are a species with needs of belonging. What we want when we ask forgiveness (rather than repair the damage caused) is that we are not excluded from certain social circles, that our ties and relationships are not broken .
An example, a friend of ours has shared with a third party a confidence , something intimate that we revealed some time ago. We ask for explanations and what he does almost to the second is to apologize almost desperately. According to Dr. Robert Trivers, what worries this friend most is that we stop talking to him. More than the pain caused, he fears that we will break the relationship.
The need for everything to be the same despite the damage caused
We know that words have power, that they can heal and create alliances. However, other components, such as sincerity and will, are needed to cause this effect. Thus, sometimes, when we have been offended or injured, we realize that the simple act of saying sorry does not erase the pain caused.
- He does not do so because we feel that the other person apologizes for mere convention.
- We perceive, in turn, that what they expect is that we forgive them as soon as possible and that nothing changes , that life takes place in the same way.
However, this is neither logical nor acceptable. Because asking for forgiveness does not repair anything by itself if there is no willingness to change , and even more, if that harmful behavior is repeated again. Nor will we be relieved to hear a sorry if the face in front of us shows no empathy .
The ingredients of sincere apologies
Sincere apologies change realities, help, relieve and comfort. The pain caused will not disappear instantly, but perceiving that the other person shows authenticity in their words, actions and wills, always helps. So let’s see which components should accompany each of our “sorry”.
- In asking for forgiveness, we must argue what we feel and what we regret having done.
- We must also recognize the damage caused (I’m sorry I made that decision without telling you, I know that it would have been appropriate to consider you and I have not done it. I regret it and I know that I hurt you with my attitude).
- You have to show empathy and emotional connection.
- We must clarify what we will do to repair the damage caused, making it clear that such conduct will not happen again.
- Comply with the promise, keep in mind that after “one I’m sorry” opens a chance for reparation . If we really appreciate and care about the other person, we will strive to take maximum care of that relationship.
To conclude, we can only reflect on a small detail. Learning to give sincere apologies is always appropriate, as it is to teach the little ones to repair a damage, an offense, an inappropriate behavior.
Now, the most successful thing would undoubtedly be to learn not to offend, to take care of our social relations a little more.