“I’m sorry, mom.” “Sorry ‘bout that.” “So sorry sweetheart, I’ll make it up to you next time.”
Sorry is such an interesting word. As a parent I’m astounded at how often I hear it. We so routinely demand it from misbehaving kids and truant spouses, I wonder if sorry has lost its meaning? In India, I’m told, sorry means: I forgive myself.
Now, I don’t know if this is true. Even if sorry doesn’t mean that in, I’m guessing Hindu, it raises an interesting point. What are we expecting when someone says I’m sorry?
Perhaps we’re expecting way too much. I think we expect the person apologizing to see the error of their ways, to empathize with the other person and realize how they’ve done them wrong. I don’t think they do. At least not right away.
Saying sorry is a quick, convenient way to minimize your damage. But it misses the mark. Saying sorry doesn’t mean what happened won’t happen again. At best it means: I acknowledge something went down I’m responsible for. Far too often, it means: social custom dictates I say this, so you can get off my back and we can move on.
So the next time you mess up or owe someone an apology, why not put yourself in their shoes before relying on those magic words to fix everything? Try to think about what they’d like to hear, and perhaps more importantly, see. Naturally, I write this post as a reminder to myself. As a loud mouth, I frequently offend people. But hey, I always seem to forgive myself.
Do you think saying I’m sorry has lost its meaning?