The Power of Apology:
Saying “I’m sorry” is an extremely powerful statement for both, you and the person you are apologizing to. “I’m sorry” helps heal your relationship by taking responsibility for your actions and shows the other person that you care about them and their feelings. It helps to ease some of the pain for the other person which is important if you really care about them. As for you, it allows you to be vulnerable and accept your shadow so you may be able to change (or understand) yourself for the better. As you become more compassionate and empathetic as a person, life brings you more blessings and opportunities for gratitude.
People don’t apologize for several reasons. It’s not always about you – don’t take it personally. Here are some reasons why some people have a hard time saying those 2 powerful words:
- They don’t believe they are wrong (they feel they are justified).
- They don’t want to admit they are wrong.
- They are afraid it may open more reasons to be attacked by the person being wronged.
- They feel that apologizing means they take full blame for everything even though the other person may also be at fault.
- The fear of rejection (the apology not being accepted).
- Ego makes them feel like a bad person instead of being a person with bad behaviour.
But saying “I’m sorry” isn’t always enough, depending on the depth of the impact of the original actions. When making an apology, here are some ways to make it more impactful:
- Be genuine / sincere.
- Make contact: Make eye contact or if appropriate, hold the other person’s hand. Your apology will be more heartfelt when you connect with them in this way.
- Be specific – state the infraction.
- Use “I” statements: “ I’m sorry I was irresponsible.” Not: “ I’m sorry you were offended.”
- Acknowledge the impact on the other person: “I am sorry I made you feel…”
- Provide a reason for what you did. (Sometimes you may have to wait for a “cooling off period” before you get here.)
- Timing is important. Do you absolute best to apologize as soon s you realize you made the mistake.
- Don’t use “buts”. The best way to cancel out an apology is by saying “I’m sorry I hurt you but…”
- If possible (and true), tell them it will never happen again – and mean it.
At the same time, accepting an apology with grace is crucial. It allows you to be more compassionate and forgiving. It also is the very first step towards healing. So if you are the person being wronged, and the other person is truly genuine, remember the following:
- Listen carefully – give the person the opportunity to apologize, and listen for sincerity.
- Check the list above – if there is evidence of most of the above, chances are they are taking responsibility and do care about you.
- Remember they put their ego aside to make a sincere apology (which can be difficult for most people). Then consider putting yours aside and show them grace.
- If you cannot move on immediately, at least acknowledge the apology (thank them if possible), and let them know that it may take some time for you to move past the mistake – and then make real effort to do so.
It takes a big person to say “I’m sorry” and mean it. But sometimes it takes a bigger person to accept it.
In love and light,
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