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Licensed Psychologist

I'm So Sorry: The Power of a Heartfelt Apology

From the January issue of the North Shore Towers Courier.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is one of the most quoted movie lines of all times... Does love truly mean never having to say you’re sorry? Are apologies superfluous in loving relationships? Is the phrase based on the assumption that people who love each other never disappoint each other? Or, on the supposition that where love exists there is no judgement? Or, on the notion that forgiveness is automatic in loving relationships? Such premises can survive only in imaginary romantic narratives. In reality, the opposite is true: Love means having to say you’re sorry (at least occasionally) when your words or actions hurt someone you love.

...The essence of an apology is conveying to a wronged party that the offender reflected on what had happened, comprehends the wronged person’s hurt, and regrets his or her offense. An apology requires an attempt to put oneself in the other person’s shoes and mobilize empathy, regardless of whether or not the apologizer agrees with the wronged person’s reaction.

...There are apology-challenged individuals who are reluctant to offer apologies, regardless of the seriousness of their wrongdoing. In fact, research indicates that, often, the ones who commit the more serious transgressions are also the ones less likely to feel regret and less likely to make amends.

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