Social interaction is one of our most basic characteristics. As long as we continue to live on earth, we're bound to interact among ourselves and with other elements of society. And, if we are to continue interacting amongst ourselves, we are bound to encounter conflicts from time to time. These conflicts often cause real emotional pain and stress on the parties involved. Thankfully though, conflicts can easily be managed if the erring party is willing to apologize genuinely.
Tips On How To Apologize Genuinely
In this blog article, let’s discuss some tips on how to apologize genuinely for effective results. Of course, the operative word is GENUINELY, and then knowing the appropriate way to apologize for healing can help manage relationships better. Here are some tips that may help:
Admit Where You Are Wrong and Acknowledge The Need for Apologizing
1. Step One: The first step to a sincere and effective apology is to acknowledge and then be brave enough to admit that you have wronged the other. This shows real character. We’re talking true accountability here, not that superficial narcissistic empty apology stuff. A fraud will apologize for their own benefit, an authentic person will apologize because of their ability to feel for the other person, as well as feeling their own remorse. (YES, there are horrible humans out there that have no ability to feel for others, words such as psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists encompass such empathy disorders. These are your shallow, manipulative, glib, and callous individuals that generally exhibit personality and brain issues. Read more on that when you can)
2. Step Two: Do not apologize because of feeling the obligation to do so. This is the worst energy to put out there and DOES NOT CAUSE HEALING for either party. Parents who force their children to apologize, to another before the child actually “feels” sorry, facilitate much of the narcissism, or “lack of empathy” we see today. Instead, a parent who pulls their child aside and explains (in their ear and not in front of an audience) how another person may feel, can assist the child in understanding empathy. This also applies to a parent who forces a child to “share” food or a toy, with a sibling or another child, before they are ready to share. I won’t even get into how this affects a child’s identity but, I will say this, if we parented more consciously these days, we would see amazing developments in the future generations. (See Dr. Shefali’s Conscious Parenting here: https://g.co/kgs/ZQrKFo)
3. Step Three: Instead, apologize because you have come to the realization that you were wrong, and you now see and FEEL the need to apologize. You see, apologizing is a feeling thing. It takes great character to see our own mistakes, it takes even greater character to know no one gets better in this life without mistakes! And we’ve got to feel into mistakes, not run from them. In
the words of the great Tony Robbins, “The only problem we really have is we think we’re not supposed to have problems! Problems call us to higher level - face and solve them now.” I feel this applies to mistakes as well. Think about it, the best people you know, I mean the really great ones…they’ve been through the toughest shit right? Hardcore, hitting-bottom life stuff yes? Like when we see some of the best, most successful businesses out there, they didn’t just get lucky! Research it, most of the top corporations today have been bankrupt at one time. Mistakes are a part of growth, and apologies, those genuine ones, help growth along!!!!!!
In many instances, apologies are not effective, because the apologies are not authentic or presented in an honest, healing manner. Surely, it’s very difficult to offer a persuading apology to anyone if you’re not convinced that there is a need for an apology in the first place. So, before you go ahead to apologize, take some time first acknowledge and admit that you’ve done something wrong and that you need to apologize. Again, this takes empathizing. If you feel you have trouble with empathy, please seek out a counselor or an intimacy life coach that can help you understand if you have difficulties in this area. In the same respect, over-apologizing can be ineffective because it focuses more on the giver feeling "not good enough" instead of the receiver, receiving the gift of the actual apology. Intent, they say, is everything!
4. Step Four: Another important step to offering a sincere and effective apology is to know the appropriate timing for offering an apology. Many apologies are not accepted because the receiver isn’t in the right mind space, still agitated, or hasn't had enough time to process their own pain. Apologizing to feel better for yourself, and not considering the receiver's healing, is a manipulation.
Please do not do this, it’s known to cause more triggers to the receiver, and stack hurtful emotions onto the already painful offense.
Instead, it is better to offer your apology when the offended person has time to calm.
5. Step Five: The most important step in offering a genuine and effective apology is to ensure that you stop whatever toxic behavior happened that led to the conflict in the first place. This is true because a sincere apology can only come from a place of genuine repentance, especially when you are dealing with a person who has CPTSD, which might or might not have been caused by your toxic actions.
Wrapping It Up
Refusing to apologize, or apologizing in the wrong way, causes more damage to your relationships. PERIOD. This is why you need to consider several things before you apologize. In this blog article, we’ve discussed some of those things and to further help, here are the five apology languages from Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas: