We need to learn how to apologize. A poorly executed apology can compromise a relationship. A well-done apology can heal and bring peace.
How We Ruin Apologies
- “I’m sorry but…”But introduces an excuse, criticism or rationalization. Get your but out of your apology.
- “I’m sorry if what I said made you feel…” Don’t apologize for how the person feels. Be accountable. It’s better to say that you were sorry and won’t do it again.
- “I’m sorry for causing the same hurt over and over. Here’s a grand flourish to show how sorry I am.” You have to cease the bad behavior. Don’t think that box of candy is going to make the hurt disappear.
- “I said I’m sorry. Why won’t you let up?” You have to sit in the hot seat when you’ve upset someone. Hear people out. Acknowledge thoughts and feelings that come from the person you offended. “Sorry” isn’t a conversation ender.
Is it Hard for You to Apologize?
- It’s tough to apologize when you’re in a relationship where you feel more criticized and blamed than valued and respected.
- It’s hard to apologize to someone when the hurt has been blown out of proportion. Drama about your injurious action doesn’t make it easy to apologize.
- Your experience as a child was unpleasant surrounding apologies. Childhood apologies can be so intensely shaming. Many parents don’t just thank the child for saying sorry.
- There is some pressure on men not to feel vulnerable or weak. Apologies may be viewed as giving the other person a competitive edge instead of gaining respect and integrity. Women tend to overly apologize.
You don't have to forgive someone. You can find peace of mind in other ways so you can heal yourself.
Listen as Dr. Harriet Lerner joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to share how to stop mucking up apologies.