The Importance Of An Apology And How To Deal When You Don’t Get One You Think You Deserve

July 31, 2014  |  


“I apologize.” “Forgive me.” “I was wrong.”

These are some of the shortest phrases known to mankind, but they can be the most powerful. Giving or receiving an apology can be the hardest thing to do and encounter when one is really hurt. Telling someone you’re sorry for something you did wrong or for something misunderstood means that the person must lay aside their pride and admit to it, and this is not an easy thing to do. And on the other hand, receiving an apology can be bittersweet as well because hearing and accepting apologetic words or gestures causes the recipient to remember a bad time in their life that they’ve held on to, and they too must swallow their pride in choosing to accept it (and agreeing to let that anger go for good).

Giving an apology has its pros and cons, but nonetheless, it’s important to give one when someone you care about feels hurt. Why you ask?

1. It provides closure for you that brings about a peace of mind and helps you heal wounds of guilt from within.

2. Apologies allow you to grow because admitting that you were wrong is one of the hardest things for some people to do.

3. It rights a wrong and helps to give you and the other person closure. Whether or not they are receptive of your apology, no matter when it was given, at some point they will appreciate it.

After you’ve given your apology the most important thing you can do (before or after it’s given) is to forgive yourself and move on with your life. Why is this important?
Forgiving yourself means that you’ve let go of the matter and you sincerely meant your apology. Many times when we’ve wronged someone we are so bothered that we can’t move beyond what we’ve done. We burry the transgression within our souls and leave it there to fester and grow, and in turn, that leaves internal scars that if left unattended, can affect our lives in more ways than one without us realizing it. So be sure that you’ve forgiven yourself before or after you’ve apologized.

Now on the flip side of things, what do you do if you believe you deserve an apology but don’t get one?

1. Evaluate the situation from both sides and make sure you haven’t overreacted. As adamant as we may be at times about being right, the truth of the matter is that there is a possibility that we’re wrong and we do not deserve an apology, but we can’t see beyond our own opinion.

2. Try your best to forgive and forget about the situation, because it’s really only hurting you. This can be a difficult task because your feelings and ego may be bruised and it’s not easy to forget that someone hurt you, let alone forgive them if they didn’t acknowledge their wrongdoing. However, in order for you to move on with your life, you have to let go.

3. Make up in your mind that you do not need an apology in order to move past a wrong that’s been done to you. The mind is a very powerful tool that controls our emotions and actions. If you have your mind set on not needing an apology, then the rest of you will follow and you will move forward.

Saying one of the short aforementioned phrases can be one of the biggest things a person can do for themselves and someone else. But if you don’t receive an apology you thought you deserved, don’t sweat it. Life’s too short to be concerned about what someone else didn’t give you and to let it hinder your growth and happiness.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin

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  • Lee

    Saying that an apology is not a condition for moving on is not quite right. The apology is needed to acknowledge a wrong and to make sure the offense is not repeated. People simple don’t master this part of communication and human relations. There is the ‘I apologize’ because it sounds more cerebral than the heart felt “I’m sorry.’ But the worst apologies are the ‘apology non apology.’ You hear that one from officials and politicians all the time. Sometimes in personal relationships.

    –I’m sorry IF you feel offended….. What?
    –I’m sorry IF anyone feels what I said / or did offended you … What again?
    –I’m sorry but you brought this on.

    The offense is only egregious because the offended has the audacity to feel offended. How about when people are made aware they offended someone, to simply cop to it and say “My apologies, I was not aware I did or said something which offended and for that I am sorry.” You cannot force remorse. It also helps to know what is it that people are apologizing about especially in relationships. Sometimes people say ‘I’m sorry’ to keep the peace and have no clue what they did.

    • Yvette

      I won’t accept an apology for behavior that is repetitive.

    • Rachael

      Which is why I don’t believe in asking for apologies. If I tell someone that something they did or said – hurt and they don’t apologize- I kick them to the curb/shut them out of my life. I understand mistakes. I make them everyday but if a person can’t acknowledge their mistakes, they no longer exist- to me. Male/Female. Blood or not.

      • Lee

        One of the biggest social problems we are having is that we no longer communicate with each other and then we give up. Many people go for years not talking to each other and later regret because someone didn’t want to apologized. It’s sad all around.

        There is this great episode I saw on the show ‘Monk’ detailing why he didn’t speak to his brother Ambrose for over seven years. Monk was angry his brother didn’t call to to extend his condolences when his wife died. He finally confronted Ambrose who broke down in tears while telling Monk why he never called. The brother felt personally responsible and at fault for her death and was paralyzed with shame and grief. There is more to this because both Monk and Ambrose suffer from severe OCD issues. The point is that these two brothers loved each other very much and wasted so much time because of their human frailties. Just a thought.

  • Yvette

    I don’t accept apologies if the wrong was intentional. I move forward and forgive for my own peace of mind but never forget. It may not be the best way to deal with things but it works for me.

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  • NOPe

    Three phrases rarely if ever uttered by many women to men, in any combination:

    1. I’m sorry
    2. I was wrong
    3. You were right

    • Star

      It’s been the other way around for me, NOPe… have a difficult time apologizing, so I accept apologies I never get, more than I would like.

      • You aint gone yet??

        oh yeah NOPe cause A: Apology aint if the person keep doing the same mess when they keep Apologizing.

    • Zettai

      I’ll admit that when I was young and immature and in immature relationships, I felt like saying sorry was like saying “you win,” I rarely apologized. It had to do with what I saw growing up and what I continued to see around me.

      I’m in my late 20s now and am proud that I know better and have gotten out of that mindset. Learning how to apologize AND accept apologies gracefully is a skill that was worth learning. So yes, I am a woman who will say 1, 2, and 3.

    • Rachael

      It’s been the other way around for me too.

    • Almost time

      Lie cause i have no problem apologizing for sh it but its men who do the most with that so…