Three Small Words

The other day I found myself in a situation where I had inconvenienced a friend. It was not intentional, but nonetheless, I made her late to a family event. I apologized when I saw her. But after the fact, this situation kept resting on my shoulders. I felt really awful, as I had no idea I was the cause of her being held up. Two days later, I was still thinking about this. I sent her a text telling her how sorry I was and I asked her to forgive me. She immediately responded that she had forgiven me and all was well between us. She continued to tell me how thankful she was of my three words, “I am sorry”. She said those words are not in many people’s vocabulary these days, so my words really meant a lot to her. Her words to me really weighed heavy on my heart, as she was right: people do not apologize as often as is needed.

Three small words,
“I am sorry”
Why are they so hard to say?

From time to time I have had a hard time saying those three words in my life, and I am sure you have felt the same way. The reason we find it hard to say these words is that our pride and ego get in the way. Our ego likes us to feel turmoil. It likes there to be conflict and struggle. When we are stubborn and set in our ways that is our ego getting the best of us. Our ego resists emotions such as Humility, Trust, Compassion, Peace, and Forgiveness. Our ego thrives when we feel emotions such as Pride, Irritation, Anger, Judgment, and Un-forgiveness.

When we do not want to be wrong or admit when we have done a wrong that is simply our ego taking over our rational thinking. Releasing the need to be right is a step in the right direction. This will help eliminate the need of letting your ego control your actions and reactions. When we apologize, everyone involved feels better, the air is clear, and life can move forward. Many people realize this, but their pride and ego keep them “stuck”. When we hang on to the sour emotions, we live the negative over and over again. There is no freedom there.

We have all been in a relationship where someone has done something to us and has uttered those three words…but their behavior does not change. Your word is your bond, so if you are going to apologize, it must be genuine and real. If you say you are sorry and then your actions do not change, your apologies will begin to fall on deaf ears and no one will trust you. Life is all about relationships, and when we burn those; the relationships ultimately will not be able to be repaired.

I have been tempted before to say I am sorry and then explain why the thing I did took place. Have you ever done that? “I am sorry for ________, BUT _________.” We so often feel that we need to justify our actions even though we hurt someone and all that is really needed are three words. That is our ego again. If we did wrong, we need to own up and make it right with the person we hurt. No excuses are needed, as that word “BUT” voids the apology altogether. It nullifies it and makes it flimsy. You are essentially saying “I am sorry for _______, BUT I have a valid reason for why I hurt you.” That is not sincere and people will begin to doubt your words and actions.

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s take stock in our relationships and see if we need to say those three words to someone. If we do, then let’s apologize for our part, with no excuses. Let’s change that hurtful behavior and make sure our word is our bond. Let’s do right by others and nurture those all-important relationships.

Because Together is Better,


  1. Good post! I particularly like the part where you remind us ‘if you apologize and your actions don’t change…we lose trust.’ Always appreciate reminders about ‘walking the talk.’

  2. Yeah!! Sorry seems to be a hard one for the egos! I jave to say…practise makes it easier. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  3. Deanna, I just love this article. I love the quote “Never ruin an apology with an excuse”. When folks do that it negates the power of the apology. Thank you for this article

  4. Love this Deanna and just had a moment recently where I apologized to a loved one because I was feeling down and didn’t want to bring them down. Their response was so loving and brightened my entire day.

  5. It is healing when we can set aside the ego and say these simple words that have a heavy impact on relationships.

  6. That quote is the best “Never ruin an apology with an excuse” This is great advice

  7. You make a great point! So many people have a hard time saying they are sorry and that is unfortunate. I had to say I am sorry to someone tonight for a mistake I made and I personally felt so much better:)

  8. Traci Henegar says:

    So many don’t realize how important these words are and Cheryl is correct…those that need to see this won’t even if it’s in front of their face.

  9. Marjory Johnson says:

    I truly loved reading this. I would love to share this and will do so!

  10. JIm Striegel says:

    This is a very thoughtful and great reminder of what something so simple can mean.

  11. Lisa Hodges says:

    Your posts are are so inspiring and so true to our hearts that we need to hear what you have to say.

  12. Like you, I feel horrible when I have caused harm to anyone or inconvenienced them in any way, so I will say sorry. That comes easy for me. There are situations though when people think you wronged them when you really hadn’t but it was how they perceived it…it is harder to say sorry then but I do just to avoid confrontation or illwill

  13. Absolutely.. “Mistakes can be forgiven, if one has the courage to admit them” ~Bruce Lee

  14. Dov Shapira says:

    There is much difference between saying ‘Sorry’ or ‘I am sorry’

  15. Daddy G says:

    I am sorry… Aaaaahhhh that does feel nice. :~)

  16. Thank you for reminding me of this 3 words are the most important thing to be free.

  17. Cheryl Beck says:

    You amaze me Deanna. Your insight is right on. The only problem is that most people that should read this don’t or won’t. I have a daughter-law that would be mad if I reposted this. Thank you though for me and my son also read it.

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