Atonement and Apologies: Why they MUST Go Hand in Hand

When I was younger; I didn’t understand the concept of being accountable for wrong actions. I was told that I needed to apologize, but it wasn’t until I was older that I learned the importance of a behavior change that actually accommodates the apology. When dealing in the spaces of consequences and mistakes, apologies are the most common response.

When someone makes a mistake, the first thing they jump to is an apology. You hear it all the time, and it’s possibly one of the easiest phrases to jump to (for most) when they’ve done something wrong. “I’m sorry”; it’s short, simple, easy to say and it’s a very important phrase. I can see how it’s so overused, lol.

But what about atonement? There is an innate reaction to apologize and atonement is often assumed. You apologize, and the expectation is that “well, I apologized so you should know that I won’t do it again.”

Not quite.

Just because you apologize does not mean that you are willing to atone your behavior. I believe it is more often than not assumed; however, not acknowledged.

What would happen if instead of apologies, we received a more direct account of how someone plans to change their behavior for the better to show you, rather than request that they be forgiven? Would we see a more genuine outlook on people, or would we find that most people only apologize because they believe that their apology is supposed to overshadow the fact that what people truly want is to see a change in their behavior.