Quit Apologizing, Change Instead
By Elizabeth Barrera
This generation seems to take too many things lightly, specifically the constant misuse of meaningful phrases. We have been stereotyped as shallow, cynical, and narcissistic, among many other things. It’s quite unfortunate, but what I used to think was a generalization of millennials turned out to be partially true. Granted, this doesn’t mean I believe every single millennial desensitizes the meaning of powerful phrases, but I do think we can learn to value them more. But what exactly is it that we’re desensitizing?
Take this as an example: We think we can make multiple mistakes and apologize again and again – all while expecting positive results. What do we say? I’m sorry.
Or this one: We think that every relationship (or situationship) we get into is immediately love. What do we say? I love you.
So why is it that we think a muffled “sorry” or a rushed “I love you” is good enough? Why is it that we choose to lose the value of expressions with high importance? It’s almost like word vomit, pouring out of our mouths nonstop. Have love and repentance lost their meaning altogether?
Has “I love you” become a simple phrase that we use on just anyone? Or has “I’m sorry” been used to briefly acknowledge our wrongdoing with a hint of “my bad if I do it again”? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that if we love someone, it’s important to tell them, and if we’re ever sorry for hurting them, we apologize. However, we should also look at our actions and compare them to the phrases we’re saying.
So how exactly can we learn to value an “I love you” or “I’m sorry” more?
It’s actually fairly simple. Let’s put it into easy and relatable words. You’re expected to study so you can learn, right? Then you get tested to prove that you’ve studied. Well, it’s the same way in life. We make mistakes and the lessons are learned. We apologize to those we’ve hurt, and because we've learned from it, we make an effort to not do it again. In fact, research shows that changing your behavior rather than only apologizing, can lead to someone being more willing to forgive you. But in all honesty, how many times do we take the forgiveness for granted? We apologize and promise to never make the same mistake again. Yet, we do. The reason why is out of my scope.
But I can tell you this: Instead of constantly apologizing over the same mistake, why not apologize once and ensure your actions prove you won’t make that mistake again. And if you love someone, prove it to them by showing you do. Leave them a note before you head out to work. Bring them soup when they’re sick, or simply ask them to text you once they’ve made it home safely. It’s really the little things that prove how much we care and love someone.
All it really comes down to is focusing on improving our actions and aligning them to these phrases. Who knows? Maybe someone will believe our overused phrases then.