People make mistakes all the time. Not just bad people, or weak people.
All people. Our mistakes are what make us human. And even when we don’t think that we’ve made a mistake, other people will often find errors in our ways. We human beings are walking offenders.
Here’s the real question: If we’ve done something that offends someone else–whether or not we feel we are to blame–should we apologize?
I believe that it almost always serves our highest good to apologize if we’ve hurt or offended someone else–even if we think the offended person’s anger is unjustified, or if we have a perfectly good excuse for what happened. Or if our intentions were all good.
Often, the impact of our actions is not what we intended. But here’s the thing: Impact matters more than intention. Our happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of our social connections–our relationships with friends, family, partners, spouses, neighbors, colleagues–and so broken or fraying connections are usually worth repairing.
We don’t repair a fissure in one of our relationships by ignoring it. (We have a saying in our family: You can sweep sh*t under the rug, but it is still going to smell.) And we don’t repair it by blaming someone else, or defending our actions. We initiate a repair by apologizing.
But all apologies aren’t created equal, of course. (All parents have watched children spit out a forced “SORRY!” and known it was worthless.)
So what makes a good apology? After studying that question extensively, Aaron Lazaredeveloped perhaps the most robust criteria to date for effective apologies. Drawing on Dr. Lazare’s work, I’ve created the following three-step method for making a good apology.
Step 1: Tell them what you feel. (Just the remorseful feelings, please.) Usually, we start by saying “I’m sorry” to express remorse. “I’m sorry” is more effective when we elaborate on read more…..
©2015 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or 650. 679.8138 to have a complementary discovery session about finding solutions to your challenges. http://wp.me/p2TgAe-No