An Apology is worth a Thousand Thanks
How many times do we say Thanks in a busy day involving interactions with fellow-beings? Ten times? Fifteen times? More?
If you are a polite person, by nature or by self-discipline, you are apt to convey your gratitude by saying Thanks even if you are responding to a very small act of kindness or a thoughtful gesture. It may be as simple as an act of someone picking up an object that you accidentally dropped and returning it to you with a smile; a friend fetching you a cup of coffee; a colleague filling you in with details of a meeting that you missed; your daughter packing sandwiches for your lunch at work. Such gestures certainly deserve smiling notice and heartfelt acknowledgement, and perhaps more. These kindnesses and their grateful recognition underscore the magnanimity and humanity that reside in us.
In contrast to our ready expression of gratitude, how do we fare in situations when we feel the need to say Sorry? Do we say Sorry every time we feel the need to say Sorry? There could be several reasons why we hesitate, stall, argue with ourselves rather than admit that we have erred and been in the wrong and in the process hurt, belittled, discouraged or even humiliated someone.
Why does saying Sorry take a bigger effort than saying Thanks?
Unlike Thanks, beyond which one usually says little else by way of clarity or explanation, saying Sorry never seems enough.
Thanks is light and breezy, whereas Sorry is usually pregnant. Repentant, we feel that something more has to be said but can't readily find the right words. We so much want to repair the hurt and bring the relationship back to its original cordiality and pleasantness, but afraid of complicating matters. Would we seem small in someone's eyes when we apologise for a mistake? Would we feel small by saying Sorry?
It's here that the other person, to whom one owes an apology, who can make it all simple - receive the quivering-at-the-lips Sorry graciously, symbolize its acceptance by a hug or squeeze of the hand, and say wordlessly that nothing more need be said.
If Thanks is a courteous affirmation of humanity, Sorry is a courageous celebration of it.