A Long, Hard Look in the Mirror

Apologies bring us face-to-face with the fact that we have something to apologize for, triggering a sense of guilt and shame. 

Saying sorry puts one’s shameful behavior out there. That’s why transgressors often view an apology as threatening to their self-image and consequently hesitate to offer one. 

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Communication

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A high-quality apology has three elements:

  1. It accepts responsibility for the wrong and doesn’t even hint that outside forces, or the victim, caused the offender to do what they did.
  2. It’s unqualified. If the apology contains a “but,” it fails. There’s time later—after the injury has had time to heal—to bring up any qualifications that might be relevant to future interactions.
  3. It offers to make amends to avoid the transgression in the future.

When people focus on their core values, they seem to become more willing to sincerely apologize. 

By understanding the many barriers to an apology— the indifference to another’s pain or the fraying of a relationship—we can glimpse what’s holding us back from saying “I’m sorry” in a particular situation. 

From there, we have the opportunity to change course and let the healing begin.

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RELATED IDEAS

Be sincere

The only time to apologize is when you’re genuinely remorseful. 

Avoid any apology that is forced. The person you are apologizing to will pick up on your insincerity, causing further feelings of distrust.

The Lost Art Of Apologizing (And How To Do It Right Every Time)

mindbodygreen.com

A perfect apology has to be without ego, an expression of genuine regret, and the assumption of full responsibility: I am so sorry that you were hurt, this accident is completely my fault, and I really was going too fast, and too carelessly.

A botched or half-hearted apology taints the act of apologising, not leaving space for any further apology to arise from the other person.

Why Is It So Hard to Apologize Well?

nytimes.com

Apologies are not about right and wrong

They're about taking responsibility for unintentionally (or even intentionally) hurting someone emotionally or physically.

You apologize less because of you and your crime, but because of its effects on someone, usually someone you say you care about.

The Art of the Apology

psychologytoday.com

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