Since we are human, it is inevitable that we will make mistakes. When we do, we need to know how to make amends. One of the steps is to make an effective apology,
Whether we intend them or not, our actions can have consequences that cause damage. It’s not always easy to make things right, but it is our obligation to accept and acknowledge our responsibility, and to apologize.
one where our only agenda is to heal the damage to the relationship as a result of our words or actions. Research has shown that genuine apologies help us reconnect with those we’ve wronged by letting them know we’re aware that what we’ve done affects them. Yet, so many of us manage to sabotage our own efforts in one or more of these six ways.
When Love Story by American writer Erich Segal appeared as a book and then a movie in 1970, it was hailed as a romantic story of a young couple and her tragic death.
Whatever the degree of love we share, when we damage a relationship, we need to own our actions and find the courage to say, “I’m sorry.”
A line from the story was quite popular for a period of time: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
If you ask me, it’s a ridiculous idea that two people who love each other are somehow immune from ever needing to apologize. Quite the opposite is true. It is precisely because we love the other person that we should want to say we are sorry.
We’ve all screwed up at some time in our lives. Whether we’ve broken a piece of expensive dinnerware at a friend’s party, dented the fender on a borrowed car, or gotten into a full-blown argument with someone at work, we’ve all done it at some time in our adult lives.
Chances are good that when we were kids, we were forced to say we were sorry, and our parents insisted that we meant it, without concern for whether we felt it our not.
We apologize most effectively when we repair the damage. A symbol of our regret, while appropriate, is never sufficient by itself.
If they also failed to help us recognize that we are separate from our actions, we were likely left feeling we had no choice, and that we were generally a bad person. There was nothing genuine about the situation because honesty was not a factor and honesty is the root of every effective apology. No wonder we can find it hard to show or say we’re sorry when we screw up as adults!
Fortunately, as adults, we can be genuine in our apologies, and show our own children a better way to handle our mistakes. Continue reading