“An apology without change is just manipulation”
Believe it or not, you might actually be manipulating your way out of situations and keeping “an evil circle” revolving around you. A repetition of the same, as you keep saying that you’re sorry. Apologies are great and of course, apologizing softens the hearts of many in the worst situations, but some of us keep repeating the same mistakes hence we keep apologizing for the same things or similar things.
I learnt this the hard way but truth be told, the best lessons come with the toughest sacrifices, the greatest pain, and sometimes loss. Sometime back, I’d never apologized, I always believed in myself, my knowledge, only that, I lacked wisdom in some aspects. With a strong personality, comes a big head which if not careful, could either be your biggest weakness or your strength. I always thought that to apologize was a sign of weakness hence whether I was right or wrong, I’d still want to prove that I was right! (I know you can relate to this)! With time, I realized that I was losing friendships, family and even intimate relationships. Guess what, I was the right one, they were the wrong ones, it couldn’t be me, I mean, I’m good right? A character that could be changed, but I didn’t want to.
I later learnt how to apologize and I practised. You see with experiences, comes maturity but only if you let it happen. This time, whether I’m right or wrong, I’d apologize, I valued the relationships more than being right, but not without putting up a fight. I wanted peace to reign, I wanted to save the relationships but I’d apologize but still prove my point, not the fact that I’m right but my point! I still didn’t realize that I was in the same “evil circle” of pushing away those who genuinely care about me simply because I WON’T BACK DOWN! I refuse to change, I refuse to TRULY apologize!
There are 5 steps to a real apology!
- Freely admit fault – In a situation of conflict, it’s never one person’s fault. Both individuals always have a role to play in starting the conflict.
- Fully accepting responsibility – Pointing a finger and placing blame is not it. Far too often, we single out the wrongs of others and forget to take responsibility for our own actions and words.
(STEPS 1 AND 2 ARE USUALLY THE EASIEST TO GET THROUGH, STEPS 3-5 ARE THE HARDEST AND THE ONES MOST OF US DON’T GET THROUGH DUE TO PRIDE)
- Humbly asking for forgiveness – The real test of ego and pride. Saying “I’m sorry” is easy but asking for forgiveness is hard. We do not want to place ourselves at the mercy of someone else so as not to appear inferior to the person. That’s you and your pride right there! Inferiority complex kicks in. I know it too well and so do you!
- Immediately changing behaviour – This doesn’t mean that you have to change immediately, it means that you have to make the decision, an active decision to start your change process. To change, you need to acknowledge the fact that, there is a problem, no matter how little, but it’s there and it needs rectification. We can all get better. Growth requires change.
- Actively rebuilding trust – In conflicts, small (sometimes big) chunks of trust are taken away. That’s why, in relationships where conflicts are the order of the day, they break with time and one grows “colder” after each conflict. This is because we don’t work towards rebuilding trust. We keep it moving, on to the next, leaving that chunk that was taken away, empty!
Until recently, it never hit me. Understand, I’m also learning and sometimes, things take time. Had I maybe realized it earlier, it wouldn’t make sense and maybe it wouldn’t have an effect. Maybe, losing some people was essential to realize and prepare me for those that are about to come, so as to treat them better. Had I not learnt this, I wouldn’t change, hence the “evil cycle” would be repetitive.
Don’t apologize to keep the peace, apologize genuinely. Change for you, those around you, and be a better person. It’s okay to take a step back and analyze yourself and your situations.
It obviously will hurt once you realize that you could have done something much earlier to save those you lost, but be grateful for the fact that you’ve learnt, you’ve grown and you’re a better person. For those who still haven’t learnt, you can still make it. You can still rectify your situations! Just take a step back. It may not be those around you, just what’s within you and that’s manageable!
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VICTORIA NKATHA – RESPONDING TO LIFE
From us, with love,
Responding To Life.