Why do we find it difficult to apologize

Why do we find it difficult to apologize?

The need to ask for forgiveness makes many of us feel embarrassed and vulnerable. But at the same time, we often experience relief when we decide to recognize your mistakes. We understand this contradiction with scientists.

Apologize unpleasant. Even the root of this word hints that we are to blame, and now they are also forced to declare about it. It happens, we are aware that it is wrong, but something else bothers us to admit. Apology activates the feeling of guilt and shame and makes discomfort.

Scientists of the University of Queensland (Australia) conducted an experiment. They asked participants to remember the case when they were upset of someone from acquaintances, and write a letter to this person. But before the "offenders" began to fulfill the task, they were divided into two groups and gave different instructions. Some were supposed to write that they regret what happened, and ask for forgiveness. And others, on the contrary, it is deployed to explain in the letter, why are not ready to apologize.

The results surprised scientists: after writing letters, the participants of the second group felt more confident. They considered themselves more sincere, were proud that they defended their point of view, showed an active position. Their self-esteem was higher than those who recognized mistakes and apologize. Why then we often feel relief when we apologize? And why in one case it is easy to apologize, and in the other you have to persuade yourself for a long time?

According to Karla Rogers, the founder of client-centered psychotherapy, our "I-concept" is about yourself – a set of qualities and characteristics that we consider part of ourselves. For example, if we have learned from childhood to be polite, it is fixed in our "I-concept". Therefore, when we accidentally stepped on the leg of the passage, it is not difficult for us to apologize. This act will not cause intrapersonal conflict, because it is consistent with our ideas about themselves.

But if an apology makes it confess that the "I-Concept" contradicts, the words "sorry, I was wrong" are given with difficulty. For example, if a person has grown with the belief that the recognition of guilt means weakness, it will be difficult for him to apologize to the subordinate on whom he raised his voice. Installation "The manifestation of aggression is unacceptable" will include in contradiction with "I will lose credibility, if I recognize my mistake," and, most likely, the boss will experience a strong alarm, solving this dilemma.

If apologies are threatened by the integrity of "I", the psyche sometimes goes on the tricks: we are understood by the significance of the act, justify that we did not have a choice to do otherwise, invent other excuses. It is noteworthy that the "offender" most likely, sincerely believes in his own innocence, since the protection of the integrity of "I" occurs unconsciously.

It turns out how easy it is to ask for forgiveness and how sincere it will be depends on the values ​​that contains "I-Concept". In one case, apologies contribute to maintaining the perfect image of herself, and then we experience relief. In the other, on the contrary, means recognition that we have committed a terrible act, which contradicts our idea of ​​themselves.

Researcher from Stanford University Karina Schumann conducted an experiment that demonstrates the connection of the basic values ​​of a person with the sincerity of his apologies. Part of the participants received a task to compile a list of basic values, such as justice, love, compassion, and reflect why they consider them especially significant. After completing this exercise, they were to apologize in writing before, in relation to whom they were once unfair.

Why do we find it difficult to apologize

The study showed that their apologies were more sincere than an apology of other participants who did not fulfill a special task. Thinking on basic values ​​allowed the first group to continue to investigate their ideas about themselves, to figure out what they are considered acceptable, and what not.

Why we need apologies?

If it is difficult for us to recognize your mistakes and ask for forgiveness, you may just need to leave everything as it is and pretending that nothing happened? Many choose this path, and then we have an unpleasant precipitate after communicating with such a person, and maybe even a hurt for life. Apologies – this is a sign that we are not indifferent to the relationship and we are ready to make concessions.

In significant relationships, there is always a lot of risk: we open up the other that part of themselves, which we sometimes hide from others. When we share something important, it is never known for sure which the response of the interlocutor will be. But we are ready to risk, because the ability to be understood and adopted.

Apologies – this is also a risk: perhaps the second side will not accept them, and we will feel even more vulnerable. Apologize or not – the choice always remains for us. But the ability to sincerely ask for forgiveness and recognize errors allows you to make a relationship with closer and sincere.

Why do we find it difficult to apologize

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