As kids, we are taught that when your actions hurt someone else, physically or emotionally, you need to apologize and say, "I’m sorry". I have found that some people truly mean it, while others say it as a trained response. The thing about apologies is that if you simply say the words without a thought or plan for change, it is undeniable that it will happen again.
I recently had an experience like this with a close friend of mine. She kept continually apologizing for the same action and I kept accepting it. Isn’t that the definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result?”. Each time it happened, I would get more and more upset when it finally occurred to me that while she continued to apologize we never created a plan for change. It was destined to happen again.
I realized, that if I wanted things to truly change, I was going to need to speak up because simply saying sorry, wasn’t good enough anymore. It was no longer ok for her to continue to hurt me but it also wasn’t ok for me to continue to let her. If we kept down this path, we would eventually no longer have a friendship and that was something I didn’t want. So basically, sorry wasn’t good enough anymore and we had to create a plan for change that we could both agree upon, which also needed to include accountability. It was the only way we could both truly move past the vicious cycle we had trapped ourselves in.
My challenge for you today is to think about the last time you apologized to someone. Did you create an action plan on how either you or both of you would attempt to change so that it doesn't happen again? Or did you leave the conversation with an empty apology? If so, I encourage you to go back to them and collaborate on a plan for change. I think they will truly appreciate it and in the end, so will you!