How To Apologise, Without Causing Even More Offense!
One definition of an apology is a declaration of sorrow or regret over harming someone.
You know the situation; you said or did something you feel offended someone. Whether it did or not, your maturity kicks in as you reflect on what took place, and you feel the need to acknowledge and repair any emotional damage.
The problem is, you do what too many people do when they apologise. You attempt to justify your behaviour with ifs, ands and buts that only serve to exacerbate the original sin.
GOLDEN RULE: when you apologise, really mean it, and SHUT-UP!
Look; an apology from the heart is just that. An atonement for wronging another. It is an emotionally mature response to having been out of order; out of control.
All true apologies require a broken heart and a contrite spirit. They do not require justification, explanation or excuses. Let me give you an example of a typically wrong way to apologise. Then, a meaningful way to apologise.
Imagine you shouted at someone for doing or not doing something ~ think of any recent occurrence. When you calm down, you feel it was an excessive outburst, and return to apologise. You start well enough, “I’m sorry for shouting at you”. Then you make it worse by adding, “But you made me mad by …”. WRONG! STOP TALKING!
Saying you are sorry and trying to justify why you said what you said or did what you did is not attempting to make someone else feel better. It’s a monologue to make YOU feel better! And, that invalidates the apology!
Meaningful apologies are 10% talk and 90% listen. Try it again: “I’m sorry for shouting at you”. Pause and listen. “I hope I did not upset you too much?” Pause and listen. “What can I do to put things right between us?” Pause and listen.
How To Avoid Setting Yourself Up To Apologise
Stephen R. Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People is Seek 1st To Understand, Then To Be Understood. This means, stop thinking about what you want to say and sincerely listen and truly comprehend another person’s perspective or paradigm.Then add to mutual understanding through discovery (Socratic) questioning.
What a perfect description of learning how to remain emotionally restrained under all situations. And, not very many people have learned how to do it. You, however, are now on the road to becoming more effective in emotionally challenging situations at home, at work, and at play.
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Complicated IS Easy! Simple IS Hard!