The Art of Giving a True and Honest Apology

There’s a lot that goes into saying sorry

Nov 17, 2016
Special Collections: MINDFUL LIVING
A good apology is about looking inward, carefully considering how your actions affect others. (Shutterstock)

A good apology is about looking inward, carefully considering how your actions affect others. (Shutterstock)

Being able to say you're sorry has a lot of power: it can maintain healthy relationships, inspire self-reflection, and motivate a person to positively change their approach in the future. A good apology is about looking inward, carefully considering how your actions affect others, and thinking about how you can prevent such occurrences from happening later on. Like any skill we practice, there’s an art to an I’m sorry:

1. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES

Apologizing is great when your intent is to genuinly own up to your mistakes and make a change. Really take in what is being said and examine why the person was offended. Put yourselves in their position and then consider how you can actively change your behavior moving forward. The first step is to listen carefully and spark an internal conversation. The second step is to find a solution.

2. HAVE THE RIGHT INTENTIONS

Apologize after you’ve looked at the dispute with a clear head and are ready to take responsibility. You're not trying to get the other person to forgive you. Forgiveness is a bonus, not the end goal (and might not always be achievable). The aim is to take accountability and restore your integrity. Think about it; actions speak louder than words, right? Prove to yourself and others that you deserve their trust again by acting like the person you’re striving to be.

3. CONSIDER TIMING

It’s okay to feel hurt or upset during a confrontation, so give yourself some time to process the situation. It will lead to more of an authentic conversation. The heat of the moment is not the time to start making amends and keep in mind that everyone has their own cooling down process. Make sure you’re able to set aside hard feelings and see the situation from their point of view.

The heat of the moment is not the time to start making amends. (Shutterstock)

The heat of the moment is not the time to start making amends. (Shutterstock)

4. STAY POSITIVE

This is where timing comes into play. After enough time has passed for you to examine a different point of view, remember to stay positive when you approach someone with an apology. Acknowledge the incident without extending blame. All mistakes are grounds for learning opportunities and paving the way to move forward.

5. PRACTICE FORGIVENESS

It’s just as important to forgive others, as it is to forgive yourself. As long as you’re learning from the experience, acknowledging any hurt feelings, and finding a solution, you’re doing everything you can to amend the situation. Remember to be kind and practice understanding towards yourself as well.

REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

ADD A COMMENT

Special Collection