The Ultimate Guide To Apology

Give And Receive An Apology

Remember that Chicago song that said Hold me now, it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry”, well they were right. Apologizing is hard, basically because nobody teaches us why should we do it and how important it is for our adulthood.

How many situations in your life could have been managed using just two words? How many friendships and relationships could have been saved? The power of just two words can help us get back on track, and recover precious people in our lives.

Today I want to talk about apologizing, and how exactly not doing it is leaving a severe impact on everyone’s lives.

How To Get Started With Apology

It is quite common to see parents correcting the kid’s behavior when they do something wrong; they usually tell them not to do this or that, but how many times do they teach them to apologize?

Also, is not only about saying the words, it’s also about meaning them. And many children, sadly, either say sorry just to get out of trouble or just don’t say it at all. An attitude that we frequently see in adults.

Of course, this is a generalization. Probably your parents did teach you to apologize, mine did, but in a world where social interaction is defined by a smartphone and where the survival of the strongest is still praised, we probably need some help with such a basic thing as apologizing.

Something interesting is how the ego plays in our interpersonal relationships; when we are kids, the ego manifests as the “me phase”, basically everything revolts around us, we don’t have the capability of realizing how we can harm others until we’re 5-7 years old.

And when we grow up, our ego can restrain us from apologizing because it tells us we are always right, and that we don’t owe anything to anyone.

If you have children or interact often with them, you could explain to them what they did wrong, why it is wrong so they can start thinking about their actions instead of just accepting your commands as an adult, and ask them to apologize to amend the situation, instead of just walking away.

This understanding process is extremely important, the what and why questions help them to develop empathy and to take responsibility for their actions. A simple way to teach these things is giving them examples: “How would you feel if Sarah hits you? How do you think she feels about what you did?”.

Now, with teenagers things should be easier, because they are older and actually have the capability to understand these things, but adolescence can be tricky.

They are going through a different “me phase”, where thoughts like “everyone is against me” and “it is always my fault” are quite common.

Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know

Teaching to apologize at that age is just like with children, only harder because teenagers will argue with you, and give you dozens of arguments that they seem valid. My advice is: be patient. Do not engage in long arguments, make a statement and put your feet down when necessary.

I believe it’s important to apologize, but it is equally important to discern when you don’t have to. Continually apologizing for your actions, particularly when you haven’t done anything wrong, can get you trouble in life.

It will affect your self-esteem and the way you interact with others; it can even make you the center of abusive behaviors and leave an emotional scar.

The secret, I believe, is taking your time. Think deep, did you really hurt someone? How did you do it? Why is it so important for that other person? And if you can’t find the answers to these questions alone, ask them. Talking solves many problems, so don’t underestimate the power of a conversation.

Make Apology Work For You

These days, at least 50% of our interactions with others are through smartphones.

It is easier to say you like someone online because you have so many resources at the touch of your finger that carry many meanings.

One like on Instagram or Facebook could mean you like the picture, the person, the caption, the situation, etc. Asking someone out is easier online because the phone works as a bulletproof glass for our ego; being rejected is harder in person, so lately we prefer to say things through WhatsApp than in real life.

And that’s okay, smartphones are supposed to help us communicate, but what happens when we no longer have the courage to say things face to face? When was the last time you actually apologized to someone personally instead of sending a text? How is this affecting our lives?

Steps To A Successful Apology

Times are changing, and so are the way we communicate with others. But interacting through social media could lead to many understandings; sometimes when we send a text without an emoji could tell the other person we are mad, or sometimes we use it and they understand we are being sarcastic.

We do not completely understand how online communication works, and that’s why is so important to say things in person. Especially something as important as apologizing.

We should also keep track of our ego, because saying “I’m sorry” on time, could not only save our job or a friendship but our marriage.

I’m not saying we should get rid of social media to communicate, I’m saying we should use it as a tool for a real-life interaction.

For example, if you had an argument with your wife in the morning, take a few hours of the day to think about it. Did you do something wrong? Maybe she was not in the mood?

You can use social platforms to let her know you want to fix the problem, and that you would like to talk about it at night.

Having important conversations through mobile texting could take hours; we are not always available for texting, and even though we can express ourselves through emojis, GIFs, songs, and voice notes, they do not replace a real-life conversation.

I wished schools and universities helped with this issue; a class where people get to learn about the importance of apologizing on time and how to do it could reduce the divorce rates we are seen these days.

They should help us learn about self-confidence, and that we should always treat others with respect, instead of teaching us to tackle others in different fields, like the academic or working ones.

It may sound like an advice you read on those self-help books, but it’s important to know yourself. It’s the only way you can trust the real you, and it will help you to understand and recognize your own mistakes.

Nobody on earth is perfect, so the next time you feel like you are absolutely right about something, think it through, and if you have to apologize, do not hesitate.

Even if the other person does not accept your apology, it is important for your self-growth to identify these mistakes, to be able to put your ego aside, and sincerely say you’re sorry.

Before leaving you with these reflections, I’d like to know what you think about apologizing. Do you do it or is it hard for you sometimes? Have been waiting for an apology that never arrived? How did it make you feel?

3 Excellent Books To Read

1. The Art of the Apology
2. 
The Power of Apology: Healing Steps to Transform All Your Relationships
3. 
The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships

 

 

 

Image By: Tan Danh