"Excuse me," the magic word that solves everything

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Louise Hay


"Excuse me," the magic word that solves everything

Some people replace the word "sorry" with an apology. These people, in addition to having low emotional intelligence, neglect the inherent power of forgiveness in order to end misunderstandings and resume relationships.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

"Excuse me" is not just a word; In fact, it's the magic ingredient for any relationship. Gandhi said that forgiveness is the attribute of the strong, because somehow, saying these words aloud requires great doses of courage, humility and strength to admit the mistakes made.

The human being certainly lacks adequate competence in matters of forgiveness. We relate the concept of forgiveness to the most serious situations, where words are necessary to heal wounds, to facilitate the possibility of turning the page and moving forward. However, knowing how to apologize is actually an act that we should do more often in our daily life.

Phrases such as "sorry for not keeping your promise, for requesting something that was not within your competence, sorry for answering you wrong, for not calling you when you needed it, etc.", describe exactly the situations in which it would be useful to know how to use this magic word. The psychology of forgiveness tells us that the simple act of saying "I'm sorry" is the cornerstone of human relationships and, as such, we should make better (and greater) use of it.

«When you forgive, you let go of your soul. But when you say "I'm sorry", you free two souls.

-Donald L. Hicks-

"Excuse me," a word of great power

Misunderstandings are part of the social landscape. Sometimes, we misinterpret things or make wrong judgments. Other times, we unwittingly neglect who we value the most, because we take it for granted that it doesn't matter, that those who appreciate us do not be offended ... Yet it happens, and there the misunderstanding and disappointment arise.

We could give a thousand examples of common situations where small disagreements arise. However, we must be clear, small misunderstandings unresolved and accumulating end up forming a bigger mountain. Through that hole that is created when we neglect a relationship, trust, reciprocity and even affection can also slip away.

An "sorry" said in time saves friendships, loves, companions and even the respect of our children. However, there are people who do not know how to use this word, and even more, people who do not hesitate to replace it with hundreds of justifications. For such minds, forgiveness is synonymous with weakness. For a haughty character, it is best to "save face" by using a thousand excuses to justify failure, resentment, or carelessness.

"I'm sorry," I know I've let you down and it won't happen again

In psychology it is common to talk about the need to know how to forgive. Most people know that it is usually very difficult to forgive someone who has hurt us. One aspect that is not talked about so often is the difficulty of taking the first step and apologizing.

Believe it or not, it's complicated, because it requires the use of important dimensions such as empathy, the recognition of the damage caused, the courage to take the first step and, more importantly, adequate social skills.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that an “I'm sorry, I'm sorry about what happened” doesn't help much unless it's followed by a change of conduct. Let's take an example: a father apologizes to his son because he didn't keep a promise.

The child can accept his father's apology, but if the promises made are repeatedly violated, the forgiveness loses its meaning. Become hot air, they are just empty words. In addition to courage and responsibility, behaviors aimed at remedying what happened are also necessary. 

People who never apologize: what can we do?

It is possible that many of us know people who are unable to pronounce a "forgive me" or "sorry". We hope, or rather we want to hope, that at some point they will decide to take this step. Instead, far from doing so, they assume more haughty attitudes, making us believe that the fault is ours or that what happened is not important.

What can we do in these cases? First of all we need to understand what lies behind these profiles. We know that anyone who insists on not apologizing for their actions is protecting their self-esteem. Otherwise, they would conflict with the image they wish to project, since they consider the act of apologizing to be synonymous with weakness and fallibility; a way to lose the trust of others and, incidentally, also of the injured person.

It is not easy to live with someone who associates admitting guilt with weakness. If this behavior persists, if that gap in emotional intelligence is not resolved, we will live in a constant state of frustration and suffering.

Living with someone who replaces an "sorry" with any justification is not healthy. On the other hand, we cannot force anyone to apologize, because that step must emerge from the heart and from the genuine need to undo the damage done. Let's reflect on this aspect: knowing how to apologize is a skill that should be taught from childhood. After all, few words are so relevant in our daily life.

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