There are three words you should get into your vocabulary that will revolutionize your life and the lives of everyone who hears them. You need to use them in your personal life, as a leader and in every relationship you have. They are rare words, nearly forgotten in the hectic, distracted pace of life. If you resurrect them you will get more out of life – and breathe life into every relationship you have. The three words I’m speaking of are “I am sorry.” You may be tempted to use the contraction “I’m,” reducing the phrase to “I’m sorry,” but resist doing so. So many things are abbreviated these days – but the one thing you shouldn’t speed through, which you should never abbreviate, is communicating when you are sorry for hurting someone. Apologies are a forgotten kindness these days – but they mustn’t be in your journey toward success.
The most common ways we offend someone, and need to apologize, are numerous:
- Words spoken
- Words neglected
- Failure to provide worthy acts of affection and appreciation
- Failure to respect, love and appreciate another person, their ideas or their efforts
While there are many ways we can offend others, there is one sure way to offer healing, restoration and kindness. It’s done with a sincere apology by using these three, simple words, “I am sorry.”
Who have you hurt? And if it was unintentional, it doesn’t mean the hurt was insignificant. Some of the most significant hurts are those we inflict without intention. Get into the practice of saying “I am sorry,” and mean it. Own up for you failure and you will be back on the road to success. Simply saying the words won’t have the maximum impact they otherwise will if you look the person/people in the eye and say it slowly, deliberately, “I am sorry.”
Get “I am sorry” into your vocabulary, mean them from the heart, and use them often. You will be amazed at the incredible power they have to transform any relationship, making it better. You may wonder “How can I do that when it feels so awkward?” You do it by – doing it. Don’t wait for the other person. Reach out, right now, and say “I am sorry.”
Once you let those three words rise up from your heart and roll off your tongue, the response is up to the person or people to whom they are offered. But ultimately, it’s up to God. Leave the consequences up to Him. Don’t let speculation about the possible outcome paralyze you and keep you from doing your part by apologizing. In the meantime, just do your part. In doing so, you will be fulfilling the greatest of all commandments, as clarified by Jesus Himself: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul (Mark 12:28-34).
To whom do you need to apologize? You have three powerful words in your vocabulary. Use them, and let love take root. Let the healing begin.