Do you remember being a kid and having to apologize for something you did? This was usually at the prompting (well, more like the instruction) of your parents to apologize.
I bet you’re recalling to mind, a memory you have of being a child, having a squabble with a sibling and hearing your mom, dad say something like;
‘Now you need to tell your sister that you’re sorry for such-and-such’ and then you bashfully respond to your sister saying ‘I’m sorry for such-and-such.’
The kicker was always that your sister, or whoever, probably did something that also warranted an apology so then it was turned on them ‘now you also need to tell you sister that you’re sorry for such-and-such.’ Then they too would bashfully apologize.
These interactions usually ended up with a few anecdotal words about forgiveness and playing nicely together and you and your sister were both just happy when you could get on with your lives and get back to playing.
These types of interactions likely served as the foundation upon which you learned about apologizing sincerely and acknowledging what you did wrong. Though suitable for childhood squabbles, these apologizes would not suffice the older you grew.
With adulthood, you likely found that the days of mutual apologies fade.
The further from those mutual childhood apologies you grow, you are confronted with the truths that sometimes, you’re the only one in the wrong or, sometimes the other party won’t apologize.
It’s a tough pill to swallow but the further I walk into my adult years the more I am aware of the truth that it is 100% on me to apologize for what I did wrong even if, especially if, the other person never apologizes for what they did.
Whether in work, in friendships and family relationships or in my marriage, I am continually confronted with the reality that it is my responsibility to apologize and seek forgiveness regardless of what the other person does or doesn’t do.
There is no easy 3 step process to make these situations more palatable. It just is what it is. It’s humbling. Its not one of those, you apologize, they apologize and then you get back to playing scenarios from childhood. You apologize. You accept responsibility, admit your fault and seek forgiveness. That’s an adult apology.
Adult apologies are some of the hardest words we must speak. But it’s part of growing, part of learning and the process of being refined to apologize for your faults and mistakes regardless of the other party, whatsoever the circumstances may be.