The Power of Apology: 3 Positive Effects of a Sincere Apology

Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.  ~Unknown

If I could go back in time to visit my younger self, I’d scold him for hours. I was a jerk in elementary school. I was a kid with too much ego and too many praises from those around me. Unfortunately, I didn’t see I was dealing with other people’s feelings. I didn’t know how to be happy with myself, so I lashed out at others.

There was a person that I often picked on as a child. He was the new kid and I still remember his first day

The poor guy sat at the table where my friends and I were and he tried to introduce himself, hoping to make some new friends. I reached for his paper and ripped it up. We were only five years old.

Another memory that I am not so proud of was when my friends and I chased him around the school. I think we were trying to beat him up. He was screaming my teacher’s name and she laughed it off because she thought we were just playing a game.

If I recall correctly, we did some pretty awful things to him and they weren’t in jest either. I don’t know where that guy is, but I really want to apologize and give him a hug. I hope he turned out ok.

The Power of Apology

Right now, I’m looking for him on Facebook. I do this every year at least once, not out of guilt, but because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe it’ll make his day to receive an apology from one of his former tormentors.

There are other people I want to apologize to as well. Actually, there have been a handful of people I’ve apologized to after a long time has passed.

For example, I used to be very close friends with a girl that one of my closest friends was dating. She and I were like brothers and sisters, but she had her flaws that often got under my skin. We got into an argument over something stupid and I regrettably called her “stupid.”

I didn’t say those exact words, but I definitely alluded to it.

She was heartbroken because I was her friend and this cut deep. We stopped talking for over a year because of that one argument. Understandably, she didn’t invite me to her graduation.

Then this past year, she re-added me on Facebook after she had deleted. I saw her online and so I initiated contact.

I told her I was sorry I had ruined our friendship and she told me “It’s never too late to apologize.” That was all.

Even though we weren’t as close anymore, I am very glad I apologized. Maybe she has a lot of things that are ruining her contentment. There’s a possibility that my small gesture and pride swallowing made a difference in her life.

Perhaps it gave her a huge smile.

It really is never too late to apologize. For me, the most difficult part of the process is swallowing my pride, regardless of whose “fault”, it is.

I have a huge ego and that much is obvious to me. Saying “I’m sorry,” isn’t an easy task. Although it is difficult, I know it can mean a lot.

The Power of Apology: 3 Positive Effects of a Sincere Apology

There are many positive effects that the act of apologizing can have.

1. An apology shows you’re thinking of them

People often feel invisible, forgotten, and alone. Just the simple act of apologizing can be a gift for the other person. They feel like they are seen and that someone at least cares how they feel.

It also shows how much you’ve grown since the infliction of the injury. Swallowing your pride can be difficult if you’re someone like me. Most people don’t apologize, so don’t be most people.

Show them they are not forgotten. Show them that you are sorry for what you’ve done.

2. You can rebuild a broken friendship

This may not have been the case for the friend I apologized to, but there’s the chance of rebuilding a broken friend through an apology. Be mindful that this takes effort from you and the other person.

It’s terrible to lose a true friend. What’s even worse is if it’s over something incredibly small. The potential memories and happiness you two could have given each other, all erased.

It won’t be the same for a while, but if both parties put in the effort, the friendship can be nurtured back to health and perhaps even become stronger than ever before

Fix it because it is never too late to apologize and make amends.

3. Allows you to reflect upon your growth

A lot of people think of apologizing as weak and foolish. It’s something best left to the movies or to a pushover.

Those people would be wrong.

I used to think exactly like that too so I completely understand, but I’ve changed. If you go from the previously mentioned school of thought to one that’s accepting of vulnerability, you are able to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown as a person.

It takes a lot to be able to say, “I’m sorry.” Prove to yourself how powerful you are and say it with sincerity.

** Question: Think of all the people you’ve wronged or never reconnected with. Are there any people who you can apologize to?


Vincent Nguyen

Vincent Nguyen works with Becoming Minimalist to help spread valuable lessons on important subjects like the minimalist lifestyle, how to be happy, and how to declutter.

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