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

Apologizing does not make you weaker

By recognizing and acknowledging your faults and attempting to make amends to the injured party, you are taking the high road. This demonstrates your strength, courage, compassion, and wisdom.

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

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

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24481/the-lost-art-of-apologizing-and-how-to-do-it-right-every-time.html

mindbodygreen.com

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Key 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.

Be honest and vulnerable

In order to show your sincerity when apologizing, you must be honest and vulnerable. That can lead to the cultivation of meaningful relationships. It can also lead to rejection, which is what makes it so scary. 

When you apologize, be willing to share openly and candidly, allowing emotions to flow freely, so that you can be fully seen.

Admit fault

Take responsibility for your actions and admit your mistakes or transgressions. State them out loud. Yes, it will be scary. It will feel shameful for a time. But it is worth it.

Explain why you did it

... and the reasons it was wrong.

This is not to be confused with offering excuses for your actions. 

State your understanding of the reasons this was not the best choice and how the choice (or series of choices) affected both you and the other person. 

Use “I” statements

Take care to avoid blaming others for your mistakes. Use statements that are about you rather than others involved, by starting your sentences with “I.” 

Say “I’m sorry”

Have you ever had someone attempt to apologize to you who never actually said, “I’m sorry”? If so, you know how infuriating that can be. 

An effective apology always includes the verbal acknowledgement that you are sorry.

Make amends

The person receiving the apology will want to know how you plan to make things right again in order for them to start rebuilding trust and moving forward.

State what you will do differently next time, to avoid repeating this type of transgression. 

Avoid pushing

... the other person toward forgiveness.

Now that your part is done, the only thing left to do is to sit back and wait. Work to release the guilt and let go of the desire to be forgiven. 

The person you apologized to must have time and space to collect their thoughts and decide for themselves what is best.

Apologizing does not make you weaker

By recognizing and acknowledging your faults and attempting to make amends to the injured party, you are taking the high road. This demonstrates your strength, courage, compassion, and wisdom.

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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.

How to Make a Good Apology

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.
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Timing

When people make the common mistake of saying they’re sorry too quickly, they can miss a crucial step towards reconciliation.

If someone commits a serious transgression, it’s best to apologize only after the victim has had a chance to “yell and vent” and fully process the betrayal.

Apologies that come too late, like those that come too early, are likely to fail; the sweet spot is somewhere between the two.

Assuring the victim
Assure the victim that the bad behavior won’t happen again.

You should be more focused on the other person, making sure they really believe that you get what you did wrong. Without that emphasis on the other person’s emotional state—and the promise of change—an apology sounds insincere.

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How to give an apology

A good apology takes two people: the giver and the receiver. An apology that heals is based on kindness, generosity, and compassion. 

The recipient accepts it with grace and, in turn, offers forgiveness. Without forgiveness, it cannot heal.

The mindful apology in practice
  • Repair: An apology that rebuilds intimacy should have three parts: you need to own the mistake, and then you need to repair the damage. Lastly, you need to vow to improve.
  • Forgive:  If you have been hurt, you may never completely forget, but you can choose to forgive. To decide to forgive means that you don't relive something that belongs to the past.
  • Begin again: Unfinished business will accumulate. Let go of the small and the large wounds, so they don't pile up. 
6 Components of a good apology
  1. Expression of regret
  2. Explanation of what went wrong
  3. Acknowledgment of responsibility
  4. Declaration of repentance
  5. Offer of repair
  6. Request for forgiveness
Communicate Effectively And Sincerely

The content of an apology is only half the battle. The delivery matters as well. If you mumble, avert eye contact, or stand in the corner with your arms crossed, it won’t matter what you say. 

No matter how much damage was done, a sincere apology restores faith.

The Courage To Apologize

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An apology is not telling others we feel sorry they are angry it is telling them we understand why they are angry with us, regret making them feel that way, and wanting to take their anger away. 

An effective apology is showing the person we understand why they are hurting.

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