Apology Accepted artwork
Mental Health Training

Apology Accepted

  • S4E132
  • 04:12
  • July 25th 2021

Apology accepted by Stephanie Lam.

Saying sorry can be a powerful plea for forgiveness, a humble act and a virtue. But when used too often or without thinking, it might not be such a good thing.

The word 'sorry', when used appropriately, can be packed with power. It can heal wounds and bridge divisions. Admitting you made a mistake and taking responsibility for it is not a mark of weakness, but a virtue. It would be impossible to go through life without ever causing anyone discomfort or upset, however, unwittingly.

Asking for forgiveness genuinely can be the stitch that mends and also shows the strength of character.

On the other hand, imagine what happens when sorry seems to be not the hardest word, sadly as Elton John sang, but the easiest?

When does an apology turn into a verbal tic or a rhetorical filler?

Or if it ends up being appended to almost any idiom - or becomes a conversation in itself.

Think of those interactions that seem entirely to consist of saying 'sorry'.

This deluge of forgiveness-begging might not seem to matter. It can be seen as a form of good manners, a way to soften what's said, the verbal equivalent of an emoji.

Maybe it's a way to deliver the truth without appearing too candid.

Yet if the insincere plea becomes overused, it could shift the meaning of the word. When uttered tonelessly or even aggressively, indeed, it then implies the opposite. In this context, sorry is not sorry at all.

In any case, overusing any word diffuses its strength. Its impact is lessened with each time it's unmindfully applied until it becomes insignificant.

Think about it: if you've no reserved word in your vocabulary, what if you want to make a heartfelt show of remorse?

If you've hurt someone's feelings and need to show them you care,

what's the point in saying the same word you've already uttered 20 times today?

The truth is, language matters, and making unnecessary apologies can undermine inner strength and resilience.

A supposedly innocuous, yet needless, request for absolution can then become a habit of presenting yourself in the wrong. It can even appear to beg pardon for the so-called inconvenience of daring to exist.

At the same time, it can be a habit that's hard to break if it takes root. I've caught myself in pointless sorries so many times, including apologising to a chair because you walked into it!

But perhaps, and you can start understanding when repentance is unwarranted, over time, it will become easier to hold back, hang on to one's self-esteem and keep this powerful word for the times when it's appropriate.

Check out your list of Sorry's

Try to recognize how other people's unnecessary apologies impact your judgments of them. It might be the same way they see you.

• Notice if you say sorry without thinking, how often you, do it, and why. These apologies might affect your sense of self-worth more than you know.

• Think of replacement words you might use instead of it, alternatively, is it necessary at all.

• Enjoy holding back on saying sorry, despite the discomfort you might feel.

• A heartfelt show of repentance can make a real impact. Think of times you've used this powerful word when it was truly needed - and how that felt.

Mental Health Training