I want to start by asking you to literally stop right now, reflect, and answer this question honestly:
When is the last time you gave a heartfelt apology?
Don’t count times you gave an apology because you wanted something in return, or because you wanted to avoid negative fallout. Pinpoint in your mind the last time you truly felt you had wronged someone.
You intentionally hurt someone.
You ran roughshod over them to assert yourself when things didn’t go your way.
You were rude or harsh with someone, or you took your frustration out on them when they were not to blame.
You did what was best for you, without considering how someone else felt or how your actions would affect them.
You talked negatively about someone, causing others to ridicule or mistrust them.
And you knew it. You knew you were in the wrong. But at some point afterward, you experienced real remorse. You just felt lousy about it – so much so that you went back and offered a sincere apology without a single excuse.
When was the last time? To whom did you apologize? Was it a family member? A friend? A co-worker or boss? A student? A server at a restaurant? A customer care or tech support person you were on the phone with?
If it was so long ago that the details are foggy – or if you can’t remember a specific time at all – ask yourself, What does that say about me? As far as I can see, there are only two things it could mean:
1. You are an anomaly. You are close to perfect and never blow it with other people, and therefore don’t really ever have the need to apologize.
2. You aren’t apologizing enough.