Today, I had the task of making an apology over some things that were said out of anger related to something that was totally wrong and off-base.
Once I found that I made a tremendous error, I immediately apologized for the wrong. It was direct, to the point, without any "ifs" or "buts" in it:
Do you have an ostrich sized crow around? So, it appears that I f***** up royally and I owe you a major gargantuan apology. I admit to be completely wrong. I am truly very sorry.
After tending to an errand at the bank, I thought that this would make for a good blog topic.
I then Googled "Art of Apology" and found several articles on the subject. One of which is at the website of Psychology Today. Bear in mind that I read it a half hour or so after making my apology and, according to the article, I made the apology in the right way.
I have highlighted the parts that my apology contained and not contained.
Nobody wants to admit when they're wrong, but when a big mistake or error in judgement is made, immediately apologize for the wrong(s) committed. Just accept your responsibility. It is the right thing to do, especially for someone who actually did nothing wrong.So how to apologize? Here is my cardinal rule for how to frame an apology: genuine apologies never contain the words "if" or "but." For example, never say, "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings," or "I apologize for being insensitive, but such-and-such happened earlier ..." Those words have the effect of rescinding the apology by either calling the injury into doubt or assigning true responsibility elsewhere. I've often heard people tell me, "I'm sorry if I came across too strong in what I said to you," or something similar; those apologies always felt half-hearted. I notice that once I decide I've done something wrong and begin to frame an apology, "if" or "but" always appears in the first draft.Second, keep it simple and straight-forward then step back. I've heard other advice which holds that any genuine apology must include the asking of forgiveness. I completely disagree. In those cases where I've been hurt and eventually received an apology, even in those rare cases where it did not contain the word "if" or "but," by the time the person apologized I was too angry to offer genuine forgiveness in the moment. It takes a while for an apology to sink in; you have to leave the person room to get over feeling angry with you for the hurt. Besides, asking for forgiveness demands something of the other person -- that he or she immediately exonerate you by putting an end to your feelings of guilt and shame. By asking for forgiveness, you once again shift responsibility off your own shoulders.An apology should be a completely one-sided communication, an acknowledgement of guilt and regret on your side, asking nothing in return. You don't have to grovel. Just give your apology and accept that it may take time to repair the damage.
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