How To Say Sorry First (And How It Transforms Your Relationship)

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What’s In This Episode

Learning how to say sorry isn’t something we’re taught! Whether we’re learning how to say sorry to our girlfriend, boyfriend, best-friend, mum or dad it isn’t a relationship communication skill that we’re taught.

In this episode we chat on a great piece of relationship advice. Learning how to say sorry first can help us to transform our relationships as well as transform our relationship communication.

It’s a great relationship conflict resolution tool that helps remind us that we can only expect in our relationship expectations and relationship goals, to be met as far as we are also willing to go!

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Transcript

You’re now listening to the self-development collective a podcast in community full of inner work and self-development ideas to help us get unstuck and become the person we truly want to be.
Hi guys, and welcome to the self development collective. So today we’re going to discuss a hot topic, which is how learning to say, sorry, first can transform your relationship.
And I am saying this from firsthand learnt the hard way experience. But in saying that I think it’s been one of the key things that has helped me to communicate better in the relationship to keep my defenses down when we’re having discussions to really make sure that I’m open and acknowledging my husband’s feelings when he’s having chats with me about things.
But also I think honestly, knowing when to say, sorry, helps me know also when not to, because I’m not always trying to be on the defense and not always trying to avoid the, sorry.
So how does same, sorry. First transform a relationship because I think same, sorry. First is a really interesting experience because oftentimes we think that if we say, sorry, first we’re allowing that person’s behavior, we’re letting them get away with it.
We’re being the soft one. And in previous relationships, I’ve not really considered saying, sorry, first is something. I always waited for the other person to acknowledge their behavior first.
And I used to have arguments with my ex partner that would last days. I remember we actually had one argument where we didn’t speak for two days and with my husband, we have had arguments and not spoken for a day and taking time out and things like that.
But I think in saying that the arguments can, sometimes the breaks know arguments can usually come or the need to have a rate can also just come from planning, exhaustion on, on each row, each of our own fronts, just in a general sense.
So how does saying, sorry, first overcome help us to overcome or transform our relationship, especially when it comes to arguments consistent arguments.
When we feel like perhaps our partner doesn’t see our side and never apologizes, so here’s something I’ve learned when it comes to saying, sorry, it really helps for us to shift out in a perspective on what that means.
And again, this can be applied to, to any relationship. It’s not necessarily about the having saying, sorry to your partner.
It could be in friendships. It could be with family relationships. There’s so many areas where saying, sorry, first is undervalued in my experience.
So why don’t we say, sorry, first and again, it’s going back to that thing of feeling like we’re caving to the other person’s wants or needs feeling as though we’re letting them get away with behavior.
And for me, it’s really helped to shift that perspective. So for me, I’ve started to see saying, sorry, in a different way and acknowledge it as something that helps me to take personal for my behavior.
I think the biggest thing is when we sit with something and it really doesn’t resonate with us when part of our behavior, you know, we feel disappointed or frustrated, well, sometimes we get defensive and we don’t say, sorry, because we don’t want to sit in that place of sort of shame where we recognize that our behavior could have been different.
It could have been better. So for me, sitting in that place helps me when I just know that I, it helped that to me is a sign that my behavior, there’s something I feel I need to say.
Sorry for, so, sorry. I think saying, sorry, first is really an opportunity and an acknowledgement of our behavior and it’s, it, it reflects our ability not to let the other person get away with something or that to be the two easy one or the one that always apologizes first.
I think it’s just honestly a reflection of the fact that we’re able to reflect and take responsibility for our own actions, not wait for someone else’s actions to justify or be the catalyst to that.
So usually when we wait for the other person to say, sorry, our defense has dropped, right? Because now we’re like, okay, well they’re saying, sorry, we should probably say, sorry for things that we’ve done.
And then we self-reflect. And something that helped me to shift the relationship with myself and also with my husband was not wait for the other person’s behavior to change, to say, sorry, when it was a thing of my own behavior that I had to take responsibility for my own behavior, because here’s the theme, right?
When we’re asking someone else to apologize for their behavior and we’re not doing or willing to do the same, we’re asking someone to do something that we wouldn’t do ourselves.
And that’s the real challenge. Now I’m not talking about when you like, maybe you’re someone that does say, sorry, first.
And doesn’t get that back. That’s a separate situation. I’m more referring to the fact that if you feel as though you’re someone that takes a while to apologize and you wait for the other person to acknowledge it out of fear that you become the person that always says, sorry, for first or out of stubbornness.
And again, perhaps that’s just a reflection of past experiences, past family relationships, past relationships in general. I think it’s good to reflect on that and see whether that’s playing on your decision.
But when I started to just take responsibility for my own behavior and stopped waiting for him to acknowledge things that really shifted because I was able again, to take responsibility for myself for my own behavior and understand that me saying, sorry, it had nothing to do with the other person’s behavior.
It has to do with my own. If I feel there is something that I need to apologize for. And I feel as though, you know, in my heart of hearts, so to speak that my behavior has not been a true reflection of my knowledge and what I know I could do better.
Then that’s when I know it’s time for me to apologize, regardless of whether my husband has apologized or not yet, or the person in this relationship that I’m referring to in general, hasn’t apologized yet.
I don’t wait for the other person’s behavior or the other person to adjust their behavior in a way that I think they should before I acknowledge my own.
Because again, we can’t, you know, that’s the challenge. We ask people to those changes before we’re willing to ourselves. And so I found when I take responsibility for my behavior, it’s never ended up in a situation where I’m always the one apologizing first, if anything, I think it set an example in those relationships of how far we’re willing to go, to acknowledge our own behavior, to take responsibility for ourselves and encourage the other person to do it as well.
So saying, sorry, first is not a downfall. It’s not a weakness. It’s not a situation where we are going to become the one that always apologizes.
Again. It’s about self responsibility, self assertiveness. Self-reflection looking back and saying, Hey, you know what? I could have done better here for ourselves.
Not for the other person. It’s about whether we’re living up to the expectations and standards and values that we set for ourselves, not whether the other person is doing that.
And that’s the most important point when it comes to saying, sorry, because I want to give you a funny story about that because you know, sometimes too, we think that we need to say, sorry, as soon as the situations happen or just after.
And the fact of the matter is in my experience too saying, sorry, no matter how late it is has always been valued by my husband and he’s always appreciated it.
And when I have been able to acknowledge my behavior and apologize to him, the defenses come down and again, the communication shifts because when I self-reflect, and I’m not afraid to self-reflect and take responsibility, it’s kind of like we inspire or encourage the other person to do the same.
And again, we’re in a space where we’re not looking for them to do that. We’re just looking to take responsibility for our own behavior, our own experiences and uphold our own standards for ourselves.
Right. Again, going back to that, self-esteem, self-respect knowing when it’s time for us to say, sorry, because something doesn’t resonate with us.
And usually like I know for myself and my husband that just has helped us both to keep the defenses down in arguments and really understand and say, sorry, when we both feel we need to, rather than again, waiting for the other person to apologize.
So we had to find like an interesting situation where such a small thing, but this is exactly what I mean.
Usually we like what, when we have a situation where we’re having an argument and we don’t feel like we’re in the wrong, we don’t feel like we need to apologize.
But then a couple of days later, we’re like, oh, I saw, I saw where he’s point. I know that happens to me.
Not all the time, but obviously, you know, there are times where I need to apologize. There are times where perhaps he’s apology comes first.
It just depends on the situation or what’s happening. And whose point of view. I suppose who’s able to come across and value the point of view in a different way.
And for me, this phone was definitely on my end, my behavior. I had gotten the dog, this tree, and we had someone in the office who was doing work.
Like just installing things in the dog trait really smelled. And my partner’s a tradie. And he was like, I really don’t like, that’s really disrespectful of the space that, that person’s in.
You’re giving the dog a treat. It really smells. And it did, it smells out like the whole room. It was like a it was a dog treat, but it was like a shock title or something.
So we really smelled really bad. And he was really annoyed and he, he wanted me to get the stuff out and he was really upset about it.
And he was like, again, it’s this person’s working in this space. And I was like, the dog’s really anxious. I want to give him these traits.
And it’s the smallest thing, right. Is anyways, obviously I didn’t change my behavior. I just left the dog with the traits and he was frustrated.
Two days later I come into the office and no doubt, he’s absolutely right. Cause he kept saying all day, how bad the room smell and how the, the, the the tree had smelt the house out.
And I was like, stop complaining. You’re just complaining about it. So then I’d come back. I came back two days later and I was like, oh, he’s right.
The house stinks. This smell is not getting out. I can’t get rid of it. So I had to take the treats out and I had to put some extra stuff to make it smell nicer.
And I went back to him and I said, Hey, I went into the office and I finally get what you’re saying.
I’m really sorry. It did smell it out. And, and yeah, I agree with you. I think I should have just been a bit more respectful of the space.
And he turned around and said to me, thanks. I appreciate it. You know, working as a trainee, I found a bit frustrating when people weren’t respectful of the spaces we were working in and when they weren’t very hygienic and they smelled, and I think it’s just a thing to respect the space that the person’s working in.
And he kind of explained it as well. And both our defenses were down and it was a genuine conversation. This is just like a small argument that we had.
But again, it goes back to seeing how the communication is different. So when I was able to come back, even if it was a couple of days later and say, sorry, you know what?
I recognize this, I recognize that, or I remembered this, or I see your point of view. Now it really helps the other person to feel listened to.
And then their defenses drop. And they’re like, okay, look, this is just my train of thinking. This was how I was feeling.
And again, opens up the doors to communicate differently to your partner. So I think it’s really, really helpful to remember that we can only be responsible for our own behavior.
So it’s only up to us to apologize when we’ve done wrong. And we tend to in arguments, focus on the other person’s behavior.
And again, just not want to be vulnerable by being the one that says, sorry, first and as hard as it has been, it’s definitely transformed our relationship and our communication because I’m able to then come back and say, Hey, you know what?
I finally saw your perspective. And he feels listened to and vice versa, which he has definitely come forward at times and apologized and unsaid he’s understood my perspective and I felt heard and listened to.
And again, it stops the defenses from coming up because when we wait for the other person to apologize, we’re a expecting them to do something we’re not willing to do ourselves and be our own defenses are coming up along with this, because we’re both in a place where we’re like, well, we’re not saying, I’m not saying, sorry to you do.
And that doesn’t really, it focuses so much on the behavior and doesn’t allow us to get into the feelings behind that behavior.
So when I was able to acknowledge the fact that I felt in this situation, that I owed him an apology it helps us again, get into the feelings of the situation, the thinking behind the situation, the thinking behind his response and helped me to understand certain things that he needed that I needed to understand.
And again, this is just a small example of the type of arguments that we can have, but this has helped on large-scale arguments as well.
It’s helped when we’ve had huge blowouts and then I’ve had to come back to them and say, you know what?
We had an argument once about me forgetting a part of a conversation, which I genuinely forgot. And I came back to him.
I said, I really, really, sorry. I do remember these part of this conversation. I still don’t remember the other, but I remember these.
And he appreciated that. He appreciated me coming back and acknowledging my behavior and being honest about where I felt I needed to apologize.
And really my experience. That’s only encouraged him to do the same in situations. And again, help us to connect better, communicate better and feel more hurt out.
So if you’re having an argument with your partner and you’re waiting for them to say, sorry, because you feel really hurt, but perhaps there’s areas of the argument or that, or perhaps there’s areas of the way you communicated that, you know, you could have done differently.
Don’t wait for the other person to say, sorry, because we can only be responsible for our own behavior. And it’s really important that if we’re asking people to take responsibility, we take responsibility ourselves, sometimes in arguments with our partners.
Again, we tend to really over-focus on what they’re doing and forget that we’re in control of our behavior. And we spent a lot of time trying to control this when really controlling as apologizing, where we need to being open about our communication only sets the example for the other person and also shows that we’re willing to meet halfway.
And it does, it doesn’t mean that you’ll do that constantly. It just, again, sets a turn for the, the relationship to feel a different level of safeness, a different level of connection helps that person feel like they’ll be understood more so perhaps maybe again, they’ll be more open to apologizing when they need to and vice versa.
So that’s just another simple, simple way that we can transform our relationships. Don’t undervalue the power of saying, sorry, first taking responsibility and setting that example in the relationship, because it’s not a bad thing to put ourselves out there first, it’s actually quite a courageous thing.
And it’s the hardest thing to do really, in my opinion, it’s been the hardest thing to do rather than holding the grudge, not speaking and dragging those arguments out, just to prove a point sometimes saying, sorry, again, and taking responsibility and being an example of that goes a longer way in the relationship and really helps both both of us to move forward.
So I hope that, that these episodes helped as I always say, take what resonates leave, what doesn’t I’m doing. These type of work again, is what we’re going to be doing in the membership we’re going to be doing in our relationships and then shifting to outer relationships because, you know, relationships are really important to the quality of our lives, where beings that want to connect.
It’s such a human part of us, such a great part of us that can make life so much more fulfilling and rich for all of us.
So your thesis the type of content that you like as well, and you feel like you want more help on communication and out of relationships, then this is something we’ll be going through in the membership as well, because that’s all part of us helping to shift our self-esteem and make changes based around that.
Self-esteem and also just make our lives better by having better quality relationships. So again, take what resonates, leave what doesn’t thank you so much for listening to this episode and I’ll catch you in the new.

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