Even the least stubborn amongst us probably find it hard to say “sorry” occasionally. Yet a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Miami found that the most sincere apologies, and also those most likely to induce forgiveness, are ones which include saying, “I’m sorry.” The words, it seems, are interpreted as a means of compensating for wrongdoing, and taking responsibility for what you’re apologising about.
And psychotherapist Bethany Marshall suggests that the power of apologising has the potential to be even stronger: having empathy when you’ve hurt someone, is the absolute best way to apologize:
“. . . empathy is a part of good mental health, and that could be a part of the natural selection process, too. “Humans with empathy tend to be healthier and make better choices in life, while those who are aggressive or narcissistic don’t tend to do as well. The most important thing is that you feel the other person’s pain. “So instead of using logic to explain or defend, look inward to identify why you did the bad thing. Then convey that to them and say that you would like to make it better. That’s repair.” You can make it even better by pledging to behave differently the next time around . . .”