Apologizing: Important for Self-Esteem and Relieving Stress


Important for Self-Esteem and Relieving Stress

Apologizing may seem simple for some, while others can actually dread the thought of having to go through with the action so much that it can make them feel sick to their stomachs.  Putting off the apology could actually be more stressful than the act of apologizing itself.

Why is it so hard to apologize sometimes?

In a study at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Psychologist Andrew Howell and his teammates measured the correlation between a person’s likeliness to apologize with other personality traits.  As stated in the article, “Why Some People Say ‘Sorry’ Before Others” in Scientific American, this study showed that “people with high marks for compassion and agreeability [are] willing apologizers.”  Other people who are most likely to address their wrongdoings and apologize, are people who have self-confidence without being overly egotistical.  But Howell’s study also showed that both people with low self-esteem and those who are narcissistic are less likely to apologize.

Some may feel like an apology is an admission to guilt and aren’t ready to say they are wrong or maybe feel they are only partly wrong so shouldn’t have to apologize.  Others relate saying I’m sorry to feeling inadequate.  Or sometimes an apology isn’t given when the person feels he or she would just be drawing attention to something that may otherwise go unnoticed.

The Importance of Apologizing

Apologizing is an important step to helping the other person feel better, letting him or her know you are actually sorry and feel more secure around you.  It doesn’t have to be all that dreadful though; saying you are sorry actually helps the apologizer feel better too.  Carrying the weight of a conflict or guilt of doing something wrong can cause a lot of stress and can hurt relationships.  Apologies are a way to build up your relationships and bring more happiness.   Apologizers can then put the issue behind them and move forward instead of holding on to emotional stress.  They actually can gain more self-esteem after giving a sincere apology… and that feels nice.

People who are able to say “I’m sorry” for something they know they did wrong are emotionally healthier.  If you feel the stress behind saying an apology, try to remember that you will feel better after it’s over with.  Take that step and try it.  No matter the situation or relationship… apologizing to your spouse, neighbor, coworker, mother, child, stranger, sister, enemy, or even teaching your child to apologize… it is an important lesson to remember to help grow your relationships instead of tear them down.  Apologizing is a vital step to moving past conflicts, it can relieve stress, and it promotes positive self-esteem.

How to Say I am Sorry

You’ve decided you want to apologize but don’t know how or what to say.  Be sincere.  First you must own up to your wrongdoing.  Although there may be certain elements that were not all your fault, you should not distract from your apology by adding in some “buts”, making excuses, or talking about the issues that you feel the other person did wrong.  Then express your regret and apologize.  You should listen and be open to what the other person has to say.  Try to make amends and express how you will try to avoid making the same mistakes or issues arise again.

For more tips on apologizing, watch this video from WellCast.