How to apologize?
For some people hearing "I'm sorry" is enough. For others the magic words won't just cut it. I think that accepting an apology can be seen differently, depending on which side of the fence you are.
I was listening today to a very interesting podcast on how to apologize. Why people won't apologize to you the way you need it and what could you do about it. Brene Brown, a well known professor, and Dr. Harriet Lerner discuss this hot topic. I must admit I was fascinated by the perspective approached by these two ladies.
Being forgiven matters. It gives you peace and releases all the feelings of guilt and anxiety. But saying "I am sorry" just because you want to get it off your chest is selfish. People will feel if you feel their pain or if you just want a quick fix. It is actually even more painful to receive a bad apology than no apology at all.
I believe that what people want the most when receiving an excuse is to feel understood and validated without being judged. "I'm sorry you felt ofended" is not an excuse, it is actually rude and it makes the other person feel attacked for having feelings. " I'm sorry I ofended you" is the right apology. Maybe you do not agree or you can't see your wrong doing then, but it helps a lot to validate the emotions of the person getting hurt. To soothe him/her and show genuine regret that you did something that upset them, no matter if you think it is a petty thing.
We often fail to walk in other people's shoes. We focus on ourselves and how we want to get it over with. We think small of emotions and try to put them under a rug. Wrong. People who are constantly hurt by the wrong method of their partner to say "I am sorry" will get frustrated and pile up their suffering.
An apology is offered for the other person with no expectation of them acting like nothing happened. An apology is not a quick band aid. It is only a gentle stroke over a wounded heart. And it requires to admit that, from time to time, it must not be always about you.
You can listen to this 2 part series of this very interesting podcast here
I just ordered 3 books of this amazing author Harriet Lerner just because I have found her approach to this subject very unique and I just have to read more. Will do book reviews after these, I can't wait for them to arrive. We all need to apologize better and to teach others what we need to forgive them.
Have a great day and toodle loo!
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