I’m Sorry | Sorry seems to be the hardest word, according to Elton John.

I’m Sorry | Sorry seems to be the hardest word, according to Elton John.

I beg to differ.

Any idiot can say “I’m sorry”. Most people probably say it dozens of times every day. The problem is saying it and giving it substance.

If I bump into someone, I will apologise. If I need to get past someone in a store, or need to interrupt someone, or if I’m running late for an appointment, even if it’s just five minutes, I’ll call ahead and apologise. It doesn’t cost me a calorie.

As I have travelled through life, I have also realised that it’s a lot easier not doing wrong onto others than fixing the damage. There is always damage if you do something that you need to apologise for. Even if you are forgiven, there will be damage. Always. Therefore life is easier if you don’t do anything that needs apologising. So I try not to, and it’s not really all that hard. Making up crappy excuses for why you are disrespectful is more difficult.

Unfortunately, very few people think like I do, it seems. Many seem to believe that they can do as they wish, hurt as many people as many times as they feel like as long as they say “sorry” afterwards, as if it were a “Get out of jail free” card.

It’s not.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me – and the same applies for apologizing. I have a theory, which has evolved after too many people have treated me horribly too many times. I’m not talking about random acquaintances either (I hope to think that I would not allow myself to be treated this way by strangers), no, I’m talking about family and friends. The ones you least expect to betray you.

Which might be why we allow it to happen, again and again? Why we accept that promises will be broken, again and again, and all we will get is a “sorry, it won’t happen again”. But after a while you both know it’s a lie, a charade.

And by accepting that apology, you are telling that person “It is ok to treat me with disrespect as long as you keep pretending you’re sorry. We both know you aren’t, but let’s just pretend that you are, so keep saying you’re sorry and I’ll allow you to walk all over me with spiked heels again and again and again until there’s nothing left of my self-respect but a bloody stain”.

By accepting an insincere apology, you are allowing others to treat you like dirt. That’s what I used to do. I used to pretend I didn’t mind how my family and friends treated me, when the truth was that it left me crying myself to sleep at night.

It’s taken years. Trying to convince yourself that it really isn’t you, it’s them, is so much easier said than done – especially when “them” is your friends and family. I accepted their dismissive treatment of me because at least I got a little attention.

My life is easier now. I try not to hurt people. I don’t allow others to hurt me. I don’t forgive and I sure as hell don’t forget. I don’t give warnings. I will simply let you fade away into oblivion.

A piece of advice: if you ever consider doing something to me that will require an apology, think twice. Apologise in advance and you might stand a chance.

I’m just sorry it took me so many years to understand it.

I'm not sorry I ate this cute creature.
I’m not sorry I ate this cute creature.