“I’m sorry”- a statement of accountability.

“I’m sorry” means different things to different people, both in how it’s used and how it’s understood when someone says it to you. In this post, I’m going focus on how (or why) it’s used.

Why do people say “I’m sorry” though?

Well it varies and depends on the person.

Most people apologize when they feel that they’re in the wrong or they’ve said or done something to hurt someone they love. In my opinion, this is the right way to use “I’m sorry”.

But of course, you can’t make it a regular thing to keep hurting the people you love and apologizing. That would be unfair to them and inhuman of you. Besides, saying something too frequently and too many times makes it lose it’s value, especially if it’s stuff like serial apologies or love bombing.

Me, I don’t have a problem with saying sorry, as long as I understand I’m wrong. I feel like this is something a lot of people don’t get about me, even people who are close to me. If I’m not agreeing with you on something for example, it just means I think I’m right and I don’t see how I’m wrong. If you can get me to understand that I’m wrong, I’ll apologize and I’ll admit that you’re right. I don’t argue for fun or to be right. It’s that simple. Every once a while, I search “I’m sorry” in my chats with the people close to me, to be sure that I’m really operating by my principles.

I read Burl’s post on this topic yesterday and here’s part of what I told him

I agree that saying sorry is an important part of keeping relationships alive and mending human connections. Me, I say sorry a lot, every time I’m wrong. The problem with me is just that when I don’t feel that I’m wrong, you won’t hear sorry from me no matter what. I just won’t say it. Not even to keep peace.

The mistake that a lot of people make is that even when they’re not wrong, they apologize to “keep the peace”. This is not wrong per se, but some people will just take advantage of you and never own up and take accountability for their mistakes since you’re always doing it for them. They develop a kind of a god-complex as a result, where they either can’t see they’re ever wrong, or that they should apologize for their wrongs.

I mentioned this also in my reply to Burl

Some people will take advantage of you if you keep apologizing to keep the peace even when you’re not wrong. Your sorry needs to actually mean something. It needs to mean you’re wrong, and knowing how difficult it is to admit you’re wrong, you won’t keep doing whatever it is, if you don’t want to keep saying sorry.

Sure there are a few times when I’ll apologize not because I feel I’m wrong, but because I feel that I should. I guess you could call those cases “apologizing to keep the peace”. Sometimes, it’s important to read the room and understand to do what’s necessary, especially when emotions are involved, because when emotions are involved, logic goes straight out the window. Still, I try as much as I can to not make it a regular thing to apologize to keep peace, as I tend to put some distance between people who make me have to apologize even when I’m not wrong.

Another thing is that since I apologize when I’m wrong, I expect that people do the same. It’s simply logical. But some people just find the word sorry too heavy for their mouths.

I do this assessment of the people around me every once a while, and I tend to fall out with people who I observe just can’t seem to apologize for their mistakes. I’ve had such an encounter a few months ago where a very close friend and I are almost becoming strangers because of something like that. Am I happy about it? Of course not! Will I take responsibility and accountability for their actions? Hell nah! People need to be held accountable for their actions sometimes and that includes me, which is why I’m conscious of the things I say or do, and apologize and try to make things right when I’m wrong.

Sometimes even in chaos and our own discomfort, we need to people step up and own up to their shit. Taking responsibility is a bitch! Hasn’t been pleasant, and never will be. Which is the more reason why we don’t want to fuck up in the first place, so that we don’t have to take responsibility in the form of apology.

To be completely honest, I don’t really care much about the I’m sorry. I want people to understand what they’re sorry about. Do you really know what you’re apologizing for? Because if you don’t, you’ll do it again and we’ll be right back at square one.

Saying “I’m sorry” is very important especially if any sort of relationship is to survive the test of time. We shouldn’t find it difficult to say, but should only say it when we’re truly wrong, not because we want to “keep peace” or because we’ve been led to think it’s what we’re supposed to do. Like I already mentioned though, there are exceptions to every rule and principle that governs human life and relations, and this one isn’t an exception. There are times when we should exercise compromise. But compromising can not be a regular thing.

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