"I'm sorry" are the two hardest words to say together. But, as I've recently discovered, they are also the most important.
My generation has a pretty strange tendency to say "sorry" a lot. As a matter of fact, we tend to say it too much -- when we overuse a word, it uses its original value so that it holds none at all. I remember my parents actually getting upset with me in middle school and high school for saying "I'm sorry" or "sorry" too often. We think it's what people want to hear, so we say it, not realizing that the more we say it, the less people want to hear it.
A genuine apology, though, is the most incredible thing in the world. It is an effective way to mend a bridge that you have burned, or to heal a wound you inflicted (intentionally or not). But it's also one of the hardest things to accomplish.
Part of what makes saying (and meaning) "I'm sorry" so difficult is that we say it so often that even we have started to believe that it is worth very little. We say it to stop a fight from starting, or to stop it from escalating if it has started. We say it to keep hurt from spreading -- even to inanimate objects that we bump into and bruise ourselves on. What kind of sense does that make?
We have even gotten to the point that we say that we don't mean it when we say sorry. #SorryNotSorry anyone? It's funny, and I will fully admit to saying it (frequently) myself, but honestly, why? What is the point of apologizing, or pretending to be remorseful for something, that you are actually do not feel bad about in the slightest? It cheapens our words further, and that is really not good.
Yet, somehow, despite what seems to be our best efforts, apologies still hold a lot of power. A true apology means recognizing what you did wrong, or what you did to hurt someone else, and saying you're sorry. It means asking for forgiveness, even if you do not think that anyone in their right mind would forgive you for whatever it is you've done.
Apologies are powerful because they acknowledge the existence of mercy and grace in humanity. Apologies acknowledge the flaws in our own selves, and ask someone else to see them and look past them. They promise that we can do the same for others. They show that our flaws do not define us, no matter what we think when we are alone in our rooms at night.
So rack your brain for a minute or two. I'm sure there is at least one person you can think of that you miss, that you could apologize to and rebuild a bridge. Or maybe you need to apologize to yourself. Give power back to the words "I'm sorry."
You won't regret it.