Love 4 min read

4 Reasons It’s OK To Be The First To Apologize

Who do you need to talk to right now?

Anytime someone mentions their name your heart feels heavy.  

How did things ever get this way?  Did you ever think you would go this long without talking to your best friend? Has it really been ten years since you last talked to your dad?   

While you should never apologize to someone as a matter of habit or convenience, when you realize that you’ve genuinely made a mistake it’s time to reach out.  Being the first to offer an apology shows that you value the relationship above your ego.

Pick up the phone, send that email and remember these four reasons it’s OK to be the first to apologize:

1. You realize you were wrong.  

Researchers found that there are two main types of regret:  regret for actions and regret for inactions.  Those studied felt sorry for their actions such as speaking about someone behind their back.  Regret for inaction occurred when the person didn’t take a step they knew they should have--like not being there for a friend when they were really needed.

When you hurt someone, however unintentionally, remorse and regret follow. Don’t become paralyzed by your regret.  Never hold back from offering an apology you know you should give.  You assume the other person would never want to speak to you again, but what if your apology sets you both free?

2. Apologizing first helps you avoid becoming passive aggressive.

Allow yourself to be guided by sincerity and reflection.  Apologizing first after a disagreement enables you to live assertively and act from your strength.  Too often when we make mistakes, or a fight occurs, we suppress the anger and guilt and allow them to fester. These twin thieves of our peace create a slowly erupting volcano of discomfort within.  

We find ourselves making passive aggressive comments, acting frustrated and annoyed as a way to release the mounting pressure.  Turn the passive aggressive behavior into direct action--it’s long overdue.

3. Your history together will make it easier to reconcile.

Tempers were lost and you each said things you regret.  Or maybe the fight was about something much deeper that isn’t easily fixed. You are both frustrated and hurt as you retreat to your corners to lick your wounds.  Staying angry and holding the grudge is short sighted.  In fact, a study found the deeper the history of connection and closeness between two people, the easier it is for a reconciliation to occur.  

4. You will maintain your “giraffe vision”.

Roaming through the savannas of Africa, giraffes are found eating from the tops of the majestic Acacia trees.  The giraffe lives its life with an expansive view of its surrounding world.  As you work to build a life of which you are proud, maintain your own giraffe vision and see the bigger picture--keep this disagreement in its proper perspective.  

Being the first to apologize keeps your energy devoted to your own growth and development, not to the drain of petty feuds.  Choose to live every day guided by your deepest sense of your best self and use that power to go ahead and clear the air!

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