Apology: An Important Conversation That Can Help You Focus Too

I suspect you’re familiar with the phrase, “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders”. Often, the person saying it has just made it through a troubling time, completed a challenging task, or finally had that difficult conversation he’d been mulling over for days or even weeks.

I was reminded of the last example recently by a newspaper story titled, “A teacher, a student and a 39-year quest to apologize.”

It’s a wonderful human interest story that’s well worth reading. Without giving away the best details, suffice it to say that Larry Israelson had been “writing an imaginary letter” to one of his former teachers for over 30 years.

As the article suggests, “the beauty of an apology is that everyone wins because it reveals not only who we are, but who we hope we are.”

I believe everyone wins too because of the emotional healing and relationship mending which typically occurs after an apology is offered.

However, I’d like to suggest that there is another huge benefit that also shows up for the person who apologizes. After the apology, he finds it is much easier to focus.

In other words, the “weight that’s been lifted from my shoulders” is more than just a saying. The weight is a true distraction in our mind, which while in place, regularly consumes a certain percentage of our attention. Without 100% of our attention, it’s impossible to fully focus and be as effective and productive as we are capable of.

It’s hard to imagine how much time, energy and attention Larry must have lost due to his regrets and thoughts over what he had done in junior high school.

According to the article, the issue had been “gently nagging at the back of my brain for more than 30 years.”

“An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.” Lynn Johnston (Creator of the comic strip For Better or For Worse)

Question: Is there an apology that you need to extend today? Imagine what your apology would mean to the other person, and the freedom it might offer you!