Many find the words “I love you” really hard to say.
They may feel too vulnerable.
Perhaps they fear rejection.
The list of reasons goes on for miles.
It’s arguably the most important sentence in the English language.
There is however, in my opinion, another powerful sentence that is even harder to say.
“I was wrong and I’m sorry”
Oh the damage we will do just to avoid these words.
Even when they are 100% undeniably true, we still struggle to say them.
Want to transform your relationships?
Want to nip arguments in the bud before they turn into battles?
Learn to apologize.
1. State what you did.
“I hurt your feelings because I was insensitive and said something hurtful and untrue”
2. Explain that you are sorry and why
“I’m so sorry for saying those things because I care about you and I can’t imagine how much it hurt you to hear that from me”
3. Communicate a plan to not let it happen again
“In the future when I am getting frustrated or upset I am going to take some time to cool off before I speak. When I do speak I am going to be more thoughtful about the words I use.”
4. Re-state your regret and communicate your hope for forgiveness
“Again, I’m sorry for what I said. You matter to me and I really hope you can forgive me”
Two things that will kill your apology and make it ineffective are excuses and manipulation.
Excuses come when you apologize and at the same time blame some external force or even worse the person you are apologizing to.
Own the mistake and let the person you wronged know that you own it.
Manipulation can come from you thinking that because you apologized they have to forgive you on the spot.
That’s not how it works and adding pressure for a desired response will zero out your apology and make your offense worse.
Note that apologies are for when you are actually wrong.
Grace and humility are for all the time.