(GivenUs.com) – Apologizing is a skill set that can be powerful in mending relationships. When we think of an apology, we may think of the simple “I’m sorry,” which may come half-heartedly or with genuine regret. However, apologizing well is more than issuing a few words and moving on.
Offer a Sincere Apology
An insincere apology is meaningless. The first step to a skilled apology is to express our genuine regret over our actions. This is the part where we accept full responsibility for the way we behaved instead of just saying we’re sorry that the other person experienced hurt.
While it’s acceptable to explain our motivations, a good apology does not involve excusing ourselves for our behavior. Shifting the blame or attributing it to circumstances outside of our control is a way of refusing ownership of the problem. Without accountability, our apology will surely fall short. Having a dialogue about what happened can help build connection, but it’s best to skip the excuses.
A skilled apology includes offering to make amends for what we’ve done. Asking the other person what they need to heal the relationship allows them the opportunity to share what they need, and it shows that we are genuinely willing to work to repair the relationship. Making amends may take effort, and it doesn’t guarantee that we will be forgiven. For a skilled apology, we should do it anyway.
Make a Plan
If the best apology is changed behavior, we need to make sure it includes a plan for going forward. Often, it could be committing to communicating better, honoring our commitments or being more considerate in the relationship. Resolution requires careful thought about how to move forward.
Here are some videos that can help us become more skilled at apologizing:
Done well, an apology can repair a relationship and even help build a stronger connection. At the same time, when we fail to apologize sufficiently, we can damage relationships — sometimes beyond repair. By becoming more skilled at issuing apologies, we simultaneously improve our communication skills, step into a higher level of accountability and demonstrate integrity in our relationships.
We cannot demand forgiveness, but we can do everything in our power to make sure we’ve apologized well and followed through with any commitments for our behavior going forward. It doesn’t feel good to make mistakes and hurt others, but it can be powerful to learn how to sincerely apologize when we do. With a skilled apology paired with a sincere desire to do better, we may mend our relationships and even see them grow stronger.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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