Here is a situation that many of us find ourselves in. Someone does wrong by us. They then say they are sorry. Whether that was saying something hurtful, not fulfilling a promise to us that they had or a host of other things. We have also been the one apologizing. Here is a good question to ask, “Are you sorry, or are you sorry you got caught?” What do I mean be this? Let us take a look.
Apologizing is a necessary and important first step. It is not an entire step. Let us take a really simple analogy. If I were to kick you in the shin because I am mad at you, that would be a very bad thing. I apologize, as I should. Does your leg feel any better at this point? Probably not. If I were truly sorry for your actions, I would want to do something to help. Maybe I would get you some ice to put on your leg, or some pain pills? I could help you lay down and put your leg up to rest. I would also have to develop a plan as to what to do in the future with my anger, so we do not find ourselves in the same situation. This is good conflict resolution. Apologize for the wrong. Take what immediate action you can to help repair and correct the wrong. Finally, develop a plan so that in the future you will not have the same situation come up.
We all know some people who seem to be forever apologizing. What is worse, they seem to be doing so for the same reasons. If you apologize for something, and then continue to do that very thing, are you really sorry? You might be, just not for why you think you are. You are not sorry for the thing you did, you are sorry you got caught. If you were truly sorry for your actions, you would do your best to correct them and improve them. That is not to say you would not make another mistake, just not the same mistake. Growing and evolving includes making new mistakes. We are human after all. If, however, you are continuing to make the same mistakes, you are not growing and evolving.
Pay attention not only to the people in your life, but to yourself as well. Are you following the formula for conflict resolution, or are you just saying you are sorry and hoping that fixes everything? A good rule to follow is to not just say you are sorry, but to show that you are sorry. We do so but taking actions to correct the wrong we have done and to put in place plans that will stop us from doing that same wrong in the future. That is how we grow and evolve.