Sunday, November 15, 2009

Say You're Sorry

The power of words. Think back to the childhood rhyme, "sticks and stone may break my bones but words can never hurt me."  So not true!  Words can hurt. Words have power.  They can strip a person of confidence just easily as build self esteem.  They can make a person's day through a compliment or ruin a moment through insult.

When we were struggling with infertility and drew closer to the three year mark, loved ones started running out of things to say to ease the pain.  In the beginning, many would say, "keep the faith", "you'll be a mom", or the phrase I learned to dread, "it will happen".  As time passed and IT didn't happen, they lost the easy cliches and words of wisdom because they couldn't ease my pain.  I can almost remember the exact point when people said the two words I needed most to hear to ease the pain.

I'm sorry.  Simple.  True.

I use those two words on a daily basis with my students.  You know, high school students can find drama in everything.  Yet, in the past year, I have learned that I may not be able to right the situation but I can help a person in the moment by saying those two small words.

  • when a parent is ailing
  • when a friend loses a pregnancy
  • when a friend has a broken heart
  • when someone loses a child or a parent
  • when someone is struggling with life choices
I believe I'm sorry has the most power of any phrase.  They cannot take away the pain.  They cannot take away the frustration or anger. And they can't  fix the situation.  Yet, these two words can make a person feel heard and validated.  We are taught at a young age to say "I'm sorry"  to right a wrong.  I tell it to Alexander at just about every playdate.  He hasn't quite learned the art of sharing so, inevitably, a toddler starts crying and Alexander is saying he is sorry for taking the toy.  All is well again. 

So, next time you want to try to "fix" a situation for someone, stop for a moment.  Say you're sorry.  There may be no other words necessary.


  1. this reminds me of a conversation at Red Robin (: You are the only person who tells me I am sorry as I go through this and it means a lot. One more person telling me I will be fine, or it wasn't meant to be, or you will find better... and i might just scream. you my friend, you just say "I am sorry" and it is the most perfect words i can hear. Thank you!

  2. you asked about the 10 year hiatus. All I can say is that you said you were sorry. You were my best friend. You know more about me than anyone but my husband. You know how insecure I am deep down. You know how lost I am. You know me. How could I not hold onto that? How could I'm sorry not be enough? I will always love you. I will always be there for you. I will always know that i can come and climb into a bunk bed with you at 2 in the morning and all you will do is wrap your arm around me and ask me if I am ok. Sometimes I am sorry is so much more than just 2 words. They heal. They close. They finish. They are so much more than just "I'm sorry".


What say ye?