Recently I discovered I don’t really ever tell people that I’m sorry. I say it out of habit all the time, but the times when saying the words is the most important thing, I second guess myself and say nothing. I smile and hope that they forgive me. I say it with my eye and try to pretend it never happened. How can it be so easy and yet so hard?
About two years ago in a school of Spanish speaking high schoolers, I lost my cool. I was on a mission trip with my friends and youth group. We were about haft way through the week and very tired. But for me being tired is more than needing sleep kind of tired. Because I’m an introvert when I start loosing sleep I start loosing my ability to think things through and have a tendency to regret a lot of the words that come out of my mouth. So on this day everything I did and said was not well thought out. Our long day of doing the same things over and over (speak to a group, do a mime, repeat) was going great. We had split up in twos to talk to small groups of students to tell them a little about ourselves and the U.S. For some reason one of the youth leaders thought that I should trade partners with another group. We were given instruction not to speak in Spanish because we were suppose to be teaching these student English but my new partner started to speak completely in Spanish. I am the type of person who likes to follow the rule to the T, but my partner not so much. After we finished with that class I walked over and retold him the rules, which he really didn’t seem to understand the point of. I had to switch partners again and the same thing happened my partner was breaking the rules only this time I said it in front of the students we were talking to. I could tell that I had hurt him even though he believed none of the students could understand our English. He found a way to rather obviously, to me anyway, hurt me in return by switching partners and making me feel as if no one wanted to be my partner. I know I deserved it so I let it go and didn’t call him out on his con. I counted us as even, but I don’t think he did. Even though we never were rely friend and barley spoke to each other as it is I could tell I needed to apologizes but he needed to too. I knew I should even if he never did, but after a day or so I could tell he had forgiven me. I never told him I was sorry and he never said it ether. We were both wrong. I still live with the regrets of not saying I was sorry.
I wonder what would have happened if I had told him 2 years ago that I was sorry. Would we be friends now? Would he have laughed in my face and told me I didn’t hurt him at all? Would I have regretted it if he had? I didn’t say I was sorry because I didn’t want to look like an idiot. I didn’t say I was sorry because I didn’t know that I would still regret not saying I was sorry two years later.
Not long ago I got up the courage and apologized for being a complete skater brain at work. I have only had this job for about 5 to 6 months now, and I’m finally feeling like I know all the ins and outs. Though I might know them all in my head my mouth for some reason doesn’t know how to regurgitate them into coherent sentences. Which I discovered upon completely failing to answer a new employees simple question. After making a fool of myself and leaving him more confused then ever, because I had to help a costumer, I knew if he was ever going to look at me like a normal person again I was going to have to apologizes for making no sense. So after 15 minutes and a whole lot of thought I saw my opening to fix the mess I started and I got scared and walked away. A half hour after my mess I walked over to him and apologized. First very softly and to the floor and then knowing there was no turning back with my head high. Some how my apology worked even if I thought it was about as messy as my answer that started this whole mess, but I left that short conversation with out any regrets. I failed at my first impression with the new guy, yet I some how made a new friend.
Although he may never ask me another question, I know how he sees me for the most part. I know in his eyes I’m not a complete mess. I may not have hurt his feelings, but I still needed to say I was sorry. I don’t regret apologizing and I never will.
Being sorry can come in many forms and at many costs, but nothing is worse than the regret of never saying the words. How could apologizing ever not go in your favor? It gives you the reputation as a kind person that cares about other and helps the other person not feel so bad. So if the out come is so great than why is it so hard to let go of our pride and say that we’re sorry?