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Art of saying sorry

india Updated: May 26, 2010 02:25 IST
P.P. Wangchuk
P.P. Wangchuk
Hindustan Times
reasonable definition

Minutes before writing this, I was trying hard to coin a reasonable definition of a wise man.

Thoughts rushed into my mind, and they were all quite attractive, but in their extremities. I had to choose one anyway.

Here it is: A wise man is one who is wise enough to feel sorry and say sorry when he commits an act that hurts others.

The art of saying sorry is perhaps the most difficult. It is because of the lack of the ability to apologise that most of the problems balloon out into proportions beyond one’s control.

We want peace, we want love and amity; but do we really work hard and examine the factors that make it possible?

Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas perhaps had this in mind when they turned their years of research findings on problems faced by individuals and families into The Five Languages of Apology.

The first step in the art of healing begins with the use of the word ‘sorry’.

As they say, sorry is a magical word that can turn a foe into a friend.

And if one can muster the art of using Chapman’s five languages of apology, one is sure to find a way to live happily, and let others too.

Chapman’s five ways of apologising are: I am sorry (expressing regret), I am wrong (accepting responsibility), What can I do to make it right? (Making restitution), I’ll not do that again (genuinely repenting) and Will you please forgive me?

Sure steps to bliss. But the problem with most of us is that we consider apologising a sign of weakness and demeaning of the self. We always love to point the finger at the ‘other’, and keep ourselves in ignorance. We lose a chance to rise above petty thinking.

Saying sorry is a sign of greatness and one who seeks forgiveness absolves himself of his “crimes”.

I have seen people refusing to say sorry to people they have hurt, but praying for God’s forgiveness.

Can there be a greater act of foolishness?