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11 November, 2020

‘Sorry’ is one of the most powerful words

Have you ever done anything wrong? If you answered in the negative, I am here to tell you that you just did as you haven’t been honest with yourself.


Have you ever done anything wrong?  If you answered in the negative, I am here to tell you that you just did as you haven’t been honest with yourself.

All of us, sometime in our life will either deliberately or inadvertently do the wrong thing to someone in our world. I wish that statement wasn’t true but unfortunately it is.

I don’t think too many people actually start out to offend or do the wrong thing - it either just happens or more critically, it isperceived to have happened.

So, my question to you is when you do the wrong thing, what are you going to do about it?

Over the last month, I have observed people doing, saying, maybe even thinking the wrong thing. They have been players on the global and national stage as well as within my own client base.

Little mistruths or actions lead to bigger things which threaten to damage the fabric of a relationship, a family, an organisation, or a community. I am sure that we wish these mistruths or inappropriate actions never happen, but they do. And they lead to real and sometimes serious consequences.

So how do we break the cycle?

For me, it starts with our own values and behaviours. What do I genuinely believe and how do these beliefs translate into behaviours? What responsibility am I going to take for the cause and effect of my behaviour?

If I can take responsibility for my actions, I can also take responsibility for addressing the consequences.

The first action I can take is to be genuinely sorry for my action and to sincerely apologise. Elton John once sang “sorry seems to be the hardest word.” I wonder why this is the case?

Is it because by saying sorry I accept responsibility for my actions and thereby put myself “out there”? If this is the case, then saying sorry is one of the more powerful words you can use.

Is it because I am ashamed by my actions? If this is the case then again, saying sorry proves itself to be a powerful word.

Of course, actions speak louder than words and for the word sorry to have any depth and credibility, it needs to be accompanied by actions that intentionally address the hurt.

If these actions do not support the word, then deep down we know we are not being authentic.

Once sorry is mentioned and appropriate action has followed suit, then the relationship can progress and move on.

In fact, the action of trying to amend the situation and relationship because someone has done the wrong thing can actually be one of those “sliding door” moments that brings a relationship together and takes it into another level of commitment, genuineness, and joy.

But what if the other person doesn’t accept my most sincere and authentic apology? Well, you have no control over that and that says more about them then it does about you! So, don’t use that as an excuse!

Doing the wrong thing has an opportunity to amend and to truly cement a relationship.

Sorry is not the hardest word to say, it is the hardest word to do. So, just do the right thing.


Dennis Hoiberg, The Resilience Whisperer, shares his lessons and stories from working with regional and rural communities around the world helping them bounce forward through change and challenge. He is a highly skilled practitioner and with strong understanding of human behaviours and patterns.


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