We have all had run in’s with friends, colleagues, family and significant others. Misunderstandings, clashes, frustrations and [] are an inevitable facet of our relationships with one another. Sometimes, if we are lucky, these end with an “I’m sorry”. But that doesn’t always feel like enough. So how much is enough?

I have long toiled with this question, pondering the mathematical equation of how to calculate what is enough, and in what metric enough is measured. It’s a difficult nut to crack. Then I decided, maybe what’s key is a leap of faith. I need to accept that sorry is, and should be, enough.

With that in mind, when I say sorry, I mean it. When those that I am close to tell me that they are sorry, I believe and trust that that they mean what they say.  At the end of an argument, when I say or hear those words, I do my best to mentally drop the issue over which the apology arose. I accept the “I am sorry” as enough, and I try to move on, with a focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past.

It helps knowing that everyone will make mistakes, but that we will and do recover from them, hopefully learning something in the process. But what happens however if someone does not learn something from the process? If their behavior doesn’t change, despite the apologies?

That can, and does happen. And again, we usually recover. But we shouldn’t assume it will happen, until we’ve observed those behaviours. Only then should we believe that sorry may not be enough.

If you mean sorry when you say it, trust it when you hear it, try to act on the words, and learn from the lessons, then it can be a liberating way to acknowledge and accept that a mistake or a disagreement is over, and leave it in the past where it belongs.

Only if we should find ourselves in a cycle of empty I’m sorrys, do we have the evidence to decide if sorry is not enough!

  Leonard Citron   MA, LMHC  Leonard is a Partner at Citron Hennessey. He is extensively trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy and Reality Therapy. Leonard focuses on the present, while helping clients to understand how past events and relationships may still be influence their thoughts, feelings and behaviors today.

Leonard Citron

MA, LMHC

Leonard is a Partner at Citron Hennessey. He is extensively trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy and Reality Therapy. Leonard focuses on the present, while helping clients to understand how past events and relationships may still be influence their thoughts, feelings and behaviors today.

Please note: The opinions expressed are those of the individual therapist and not necessarily those of Citron Hennessey Private Therapy.