How good are you at apologizing? People range from never apologizing to apologizing even when something is not even remotely their fault! How well do YOU apologize?
No apology – Some people almost never apologize because they don’t think they do anything to apologize for! These people need to check their egos at the front door. We can hurt those around us with even the most innocent of intentions!
Sorry – This apology just says ‘I’m sorry’ then stops. They are just words and they seem hollow and insincere. They don’t really want to apologize, they just do it because they know they should. It’s often followed up by repeat behavior since they don’t exactly own their undesirable behavior or any hurt they may have caused.
Generic apology – This kind of apology sounds like this, “I’m sorry we fought.” The person doesn’t really take any responsibility for anything; they are just sorry for the result in general.
I’m sorry, but – You’ve surely all heard this one! This one says, “I’ll admit I was wrong, but I must quickly justify why I had to do what I did so that you won’t think badly of me.” Thou giveth and thou taketh away!! Anything said after the ‘but’, pretty much cancels out the apology and leaves the hurting party holding the bag.
I’m sorry (but not really) – This apology basically happens when a person tires of the discord and admits fault to everything they can in order to stop the tension. Deep down, they know they are not 100% at fault, but it’s the only way they know to end the discomfort.
Too sorry – This apology comes from someone with very low self-esteem or self-worth. They are way too easily convinced that they are to blame for anything that goes wrong. They put too much weight on their own wrong-doings and far too little weight on everyone else.
So what is in a good, healthy apology?
Ownership. A thorough self-examination and admission of our own faults and failings demonstrates we are normal, human beings capable of making mistakes.
Compassion. Showing compassion for someone when they hurt shows sincerity and goes a long way towards healing.
Vulnerability. Apologizing lifts our mask and displays the soft, gushy, insecure parts of ourselves which leads way to healthy connection with the injured party.
Insight. Once we really see the person’s hurt through their eyes, their pain will make sense and it actually becomes easy to apologize!
Courage. Apologizing for our part in something, even when someone else ‘started it’ or was more to blame, shows far more character than any amount of defensiveness. A healthy apology doesn’t require that the other person follow suit and admit to their faults and missteps, too. It is done because it is the right thing to do.
A good, sincere apology can be so powerful! It softens the heart of the other party and fosters healing and connection. Learning how to apologize properly is one of the trickiest, yet most effective ways to have a healthy and real relationship with the people we care about the most!