The Art of Apology

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Lisa2014_1Let’s begin with relationships… we all have them; whether they’re family, friends or just acquaintances, we speak to people every day… or almost every day; communication; a means of sending messages, imparting news, thoughts and opinions (exchanging information), through writing, telephone, radio, television… face to face, we all make the world go round. But sometimes our conversations can become heated; disagreements arise when opinions vary; it’s a state of being different. Conflict exists in all relationships, so when an argument sparks between the parties, they often lead to resentful feelings, straining the relationship. In this instance… usually one of the parties will take the lead in order to progress, due to the remorseful feelings for past actions… such as harsh words spoken. This is where the “apology” comes in, wanting to restore a balance in the relationship, so one may regain or build on trust. Believe it or not, some people have a difficult time apologizing for their mistakes or ill words. Whatever the situation might be, apologizing takes work and heart.

There are multiple reasons for people to make a sincere apology, especially if you’ve hurt someone unnecessarily, knowing you made a terrible mistake. Apologizing can begin the process of healing, and recognizes unacceptable behavior on your behalf; Admittance of the situation being your fault and restoring respect and dignity for the other. But how does one apologize gracefully? Being sincere in the apology is so important, as it can strengthen self-confidence, along with your reputation.

Before one gives an apology, think about what happened; attempting to explain it to the hurt party won’t necessarily work in your favor; as explanations usually serve as an excuse in many cases. A lot of people may go on and on after they’ve apologized, but never get to the reason as to “why” they are sorry. What is so crucial here… is the ability to completely understand the impact of your actions it had on the opposing party, otherwise you might carry some feelings of guilt, knowing the apology was nothing short of a bunch of empty words. This is common for people who continue to do or say hurtful things and the words come freely, “I’m sorry”… but haven’t any feeling; you truly need heart, trust and understanding within yourself as to the reason your actions caused this type of grief in the first place. Once you completely understand this, it is then… and only then that it is proper to give the apology. The apology then becomes sincere and heartfelt; serving as a request for Forgiveness. The importance here is that the apology is NOT about you, but the other person you hurt with your words or actions, making them feel bad. So remember, do not offer explanations to serve as an excuse, discussing wright or wrong can be done at a later time. Avoid using words like “if” or “but” as those two words are often used in ‘conditional’ verbiage, so never use them in explanations as to your actions, especially if you are apologizing. Also it’s very important you understand… that by saying “please forgive me” is NOT an apology.

Last but not least, end your apology by expressing your gratitude, emphasizing on the importance of your relationship with that person. You might want to show them, or tell them what you’ve learned from your mistakes, but it’s not always necessary. Every situation is different; understanding that there truly is an art to your apology. Another thought I will mention… is this; if you aren’t going to mean it… please don’t say it. This is the difference between giving a genuine apology or a dishonest one. You do not want to cause any more damage than what already exists. A Sincere apology will always come from the heart. We shouldn’t take our relationships for granted, and always take responsibility for your actions. Live in Gratitude; gratitude should become a part of your life regardless; it will only promote positive things, including actions in your life.

Make your week count.

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