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Love Means Having to Say Sorry When...

-by Editor

'Love means never having to say you're sorry' Erich Segal immortalized the words in 'Love Story' but in real life- a genuine 'sorry' eases the bumps..

You've been inconsiderate.
You've hurt your loved one.
You've taken him or her for granted once too often.

With apologies to Erich Segal, love doesn't mean never having to say you're sorry. In any relationship there will be times when we will intentionally or unintentionally hurt our nearest ones. And at such times nothing works better than a sincere apology.

The key word here is 'sincere'. But sadly, this term has been abused so frequently that the regret has become submerged below sheer inanity. And the inevitable excuse that leaps to our lips with a 'sorry' has been reduced it to a meaningless mumble. It is high time we give 'sorry' back the dignity it deserves.

Catch yourself when you say the S -word

Here are some common examples of how saying Sorry has little meaning.

  1. Are your 'sorry's' always followed with, 'Actually, you see' As in, - I'm so sorry that I didn't call, actually I was so tied up in my work. This kind of an apology is worse than not saying sorry, because what you really mean here, is that your work is far more important than calling up the person. You're in a way doubling the damage, first you failed to call, and then you're relegating your friend to a secondary status. Why not take the responsibility instead? Just say,' I'm really sorry, I should've called that day.' That should smooth your friend's ruffled feathers effectively!

  2. Another purposeless sorry is - I'm sorry if I hurt you'. That proclaims loudly that you really don't consider your action/words to be hurtful, but if the other person is sissy enough to be hurt by them, well, okay sorry. How insensitive does it sound! And it is. The correct way should be, I know/realize I've hurt you and I'm honestly sorry.

  3. The lastly a rather common apology between spouses is I'm sorry but it was entirely your fault Often enough we catch one saying, I'm sorry I lost my temper that day but then you were being so unreasonable! and expecting the other one to forgive and forget! But has this person really apologized? No, he is just playing the blame game yet another time! No wonder then that apologies of this kind do little to resolve issues.

Say sorry without beating around the bush-

Thank you and sorry are among the first words that we learn as children. But we are made to say them so often, that they become more like reflex actions, than anything else. Some times, our own guilt makes us defensive, and then we use either the excuse or blame apology, to wriggle out of accepting responsibility. At other times, we mean the sorry, but dilute it with unasked reasons and explanations.

While it is always important to mean what we say, and say what we mean, it becomes imperative when we are saying sorry. Because the whole idea behind an apology is, not just saying the word, but actually feeling sorry. The moment we add an excuse or a blame to it, it becomes not just insincere, but meaningless. Because that simply makes it a route to escape responsibility with an easier conscience.

A sincere apology is a healer for both the offender and the offended. Once we take the whole responsibility of a wrong, and apologize in the proper spirit, we mend rifts and strengthen relations. Along with that, we also enrich ourselves, as we become less defensive.

To rephrase Segal's immortal lines, Love means having to say sorry when you've hurt one, but say it without any excuses or explanations.

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