The Power of Apologizing

by Tess on January 7, 2009

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Creative Commons License photo credit: MShades

“An apology is the superglue of life.  It can repair just about anything.  ~Lynn Johnston”

One way we can begin the new year with a clean slate is to apologize and make amends to someone we’ve offended. With this simple action we can let go of old issues and the same stories we tell ourselves that continue to haunt and hurt us.

Think of it as an opportunity to have a great impact on your relationships with your family, friends and coworkers.

Because we have all hurt others and know what it’s feels like to be hurt it’s important to be brave enough to offer and receive apologies. Holding grudges, distancing ourselves and wanting revenge is detrimental to our mental and physical health. Offering and accepting apologies is crucial to our well-being.

When we apologize we offer healing and peace of mind to ourselves and the other party involved. Loving relationships require us to make apologizing a habit, a integral part of daily life. For relationships to grow and progress it is essential that we take ownership and correct our errors, blunders and transgressions. Failure to do so will eventually suck the energy out of even the best of relationships.

How to apologize:

1. Be timely, the sooner you apologize the better. However it’s never too late.

2. Empathize by putting yourself in the other persons shoes.

3. Take 100% responsibility for being hurtful, rude or wrong. “I accept responsibility for…”

4. Don’t give excuses. “But I was tired.” An apology with an excuse is not an apology. Anything after ‘but’ is BS!

5. Show respect and sencerity through your words, attitude and the use of  your body language.

6. Express remorse. Say exactly what you did wrong. “I’m sorry I hurt you by not returning your phone call” not “I’m sorry I did that.”  The words “I’m sorry,” begins to rebuild trust.

7. Offer a clear plan for improved behavior. “In the future I will ____________(behavioral change).

8. Remember actions speak louder than words. “What can I do to make it up to you?”

9. Ask for forgiveness. This gives the power back to the other party.

You will feel better.
You will lighten guilt and shame.
You will be less likely to make the same mistake.
You will no longer waste energy being stuck in the past.
The harmed person feels emotional healing.
You will stop the problem from snowballing to something bigger.
You feel free to be vulnerable.
Less likely to repeat the offense.
When we apologize we teach others to do the same

“We can not tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us -how we take it, what we do with it- and that is what really counts in the end.-Joseph F. Newton”

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    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jannie January 7, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I SOOOOO agree with and appreciate this post fodder.

    I am a big aplogizer, I have to be because I mess up so much.

    I especially like the part about accepting the fault 100%

    Great is he or she who can admit wrong-doing.

    Wow, I fell better just having read all that and I haven’t messed up at all (yet,) today.

    Jannie’s last blog post..A happier ending


    Tess January 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm


    Once I became willing to apologize and get my ego out of the way I discovered how easy and beneficial it really is.

    Who needs to cintinuously run “He said, she said” in their head? It steals our energy. Obviously not me and you!


    Lance January 8, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Hi Tess,
    Interestingly, I find this hardest with those that mean the most to me. Why? Probably because of the emotional connection I have to them, and maybe even more, the emotional connection to whatever it is I “should” be apologizing about. That said, I am getting better. And this is really a great reminder of why I should be doing it.

    And the really important part for me – when apologizing – is to remember to NOT include an excuse – that is such a key part of making a sincere apology.

    Thanks Tess – this is all great stuff!

    Lance’s last blog post..And The Word Is…


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