There was a time I sat down with someone and did something I thought I would never do in a million years. I apologized.
I say that because, honestly, I was hurt in the relationship. This is someone I trusted. Someone with whom I was building a lifelong friendship and partnership. Someone with whom I worked to be transparent.
Someone who should have, at the time, known me well enough to know the signs.
In fact, not only could they read the signs, they should have heard the signs.
Many times in this relationship, I called “foul.” Many times, I shared that we needed to work out some things before our relationship went bust! Many times, I shared that it felt as though this individual was allowing outside influences to taint the relationship we had.
At one point, I even gave an ultimatum: either we work together to repair our relationship, or I walk away.
Through all of this, I felt as though I was not being taken seriously. At some points, it was almost as if I was being bought off. You may know the feeling. Someone does enough right to make you feel like you have no right to complain about the wrong they do. I no longer felt safe with this individual. In fact, I shared those feelings with explicitly with this individual.
It wasn’t long until my frustration turned into resentment.
Then came the breakdown. It wasn’t pretty. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me, and I let them have it. I wanted them to feel my pain. I was offensive and downright mean spirited.
It backfired. I was left even more angry. While I thought that my anger was directed at that individual, I soon realized I was angry at myself. I was angry because I let my emotions get the best of me. I was angry that I let their actions control my reaction. I was angry because I hurt someone I deeply cared about.
So I apologized.
Here are four reasons why I did it and why you should, too, if you are in a similar situation.
Apologizing does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you strong. It allows you to take control of yourself and your actions. Many times when we react in anger we are reacting from a point of weakness.
Apologizing releases you, and it releases the other person. The reason is this: it forces you to forgive the other person first. So, not only is the weight of guilt gone but so is the weight of resentment.
Apologizing makes you acknowledge that you’re not perfect. It’s real easy to play the “blame game.” While someone may have truly hurt you, by no means were you a faultless saint. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Apologizing builds a bridge. If you truly care about someone and your relationship, then you will do as it says in the Bible: “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). When you apologize you are saying, “I value you.”
Relationships can be difficult. Break ups are even harder. No one leaves unscathed. However, the unrelenting optimist in me believes that with time and the right effort from both sides, any relationship can be restored to a greater point than it ever was.
Is this individual my best friend? Not at all. But, I will do as much as it depends on me to make sure that opportunity is always there.