The “S” word – the nasty one

I don’t get why this word seems to be one of the hardest words to utter in our language.  I’m guessing that all the other languages in the world have a similarly difficult syntax around this word, because fitting it into any sentence seems to be an impossibility to some people.

So, let’s talk about saying “Sorry”.

Here’s a little something I’ve learned along the way – it’s nothing monumental or new, but it really does seem that some folks haven’t heard about this yet.  You should become very, very familiar with the “S” word.  I’m going to tell you why.  As always, you’re going to get the husband and the father perspective on this one, and a little added bonus at the end.

As a husband, I’ve learned that being able, and willing, to say sorry when something has come up has infinite value.  Seriously, you can’t even place a value on the difference this word can make in an unfavorable situation, never mind the partnership viewed as a whole.  When something rears its ugly head between you and your partner, don’t just consider saying sorry and what the implications of saying it are.  Just say it.  With practice, you’ll become comfortable with it, and you’ll realize that you’re saying it for a new reason.  You actually don’t have to necessarily say it because you’re so horribly sorry for what you’ve done.  Although that helps.  I often consider saying it just because I’ve become involved in something between my wife and I.  An argument, disagreement, fight, or whatever it is that’s between the two of you – it warrants the use of the “S” word.

I firmly believe many, many partnerships, marriages, business deals, employment situations and any other kinds of relationships you can list could have been spared a painful and oft irreparable ending if one or more of the stakeholders had just been willing to take the first step and say “Sorry”.

As a father, I feel that it is imperative that I am able to say I’m sorry.  I have spoken out of turn, I have disciplined my children wrongly, and I have made mistakes along the way.  I have felt great power in that word – in those moments where I show my children that I’m not immune to making those mistakes, and also that I’m not above saying I’m sorry to them.

Asking your child to forgive you because you made a mistake somewhere along the way – either in how you treated them, how you spoke to them, what you disciplined them for, or perhaps having acted in a way you shouldn’t have toward someone else – is a great thing.  You will teach your child that they too will likely make a mistake along the way.  And that it’s OK.  To fail along the way is OK, isn’t it, Dad?  Sure it is.  As long as you’re on the path to achieving something, I believe there’s no problem with not making every single thing happen right on the first try.

Now, here’s the bonus I mentioned:  teaching your kids to say sorry, and that you’re able to do it, will help continue the cycle.  It will teach your kids that saying “Sorry” is just fine.  It will teach them that being part of a bad situation in any kind of relationship in life is not a good place to be, and that they CAN be the first ones to step up and do something about clearing the air.  And it will teach your children a noble character trait which, in my humble opinion, will go a long way to garnering them respect along life’s road.  Having a spirit generous enough to speak that word, and mean it, will equip our children for great things in their futures.

Yes, saying “I’m sorry” is an acquired taste for some, and granted, saying it freely the first few times may truly result in some discomfort and you might find the word sticking in your throat.  Believe me, it gets easier once you see the results.  I’ve talked to some brothers-in-arms, and what’s often come up is the fear of losing their pride, and even their dignity in the process of saying they are sorry.  I will tell you right now:  it never, ever has to come to that.  My friend, if you are secure enough in who you are, and what you’ve done to get where you are today, you will be able to say sorry to someone without even the slightest risk of losing your dignity or your pride.  There’s no need to feel weak or threatened by saying this word – it is a tool to be used and it has immense power.

Obviously most of the power of this word lies in its ability to diffuse what’s stinking up the room – any bad feelings toward each other, any tension, and anything else less than favorable between you and someone else.  Sometimes the effect is immediate, sometimes it takes time.  Regardless, who could argue with that result?

Saying sorry, and even the willingness to do so, also allows us to scramble to a moral higher ground.  And believe you me, the view from up there is spectacular.  Having uttered that magic word allows us to start feeling good about a previously-dreaded situation, and allows us to take a look at it from a new perspective.

So go ahead, friend.  Use the S-word, and don’t be shy.  It’s not as bad as you might think it is.  And brothers, if you think buying momentary pleasures such as flowers, chocolates and whatever else you’re throwing money at is a valid replacement to just saying “I’m sorry”, I believe you are wrong.  Try saying the words first, and then following them up with something your partner loves.  The effect will be ten-fold.  For both of you.

I often write posts that might ruffle a feather or two, and I always appreciate the counter-point that my readers have been able to provide to my opinions.  As always, feel free to throw back some comments, but I will be surprised, nay shocked, if someone can come up with a great argument against saying they are sorry.

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