Many clients who come to my offices are suffering from feelings of being hurt by another and are hoping very much that the other person will apologize to them. Somehow when the other person just says, “I am sorry.”, they do not feel better. They want more than a simple statement and here is why:
A truly effective apology includes the following components:
a. It directly addresses the hurt and pain of the hurt one. It doesn’t require excuses or reasons at first. When children scrape their knee we do not ask them how it happened right while they are in extreme pain. We offer them solace first.
b. It gives reassurances as to future actions with regard to the issues which led to the hurt. A statement like, “I can see that that hurt you. I promise to curtail that sort of activity in your presence in the future.”
c. The apologizer does not have to diminish himself or herself for the apology to be authentic. One of the major reasons why people avoid apologizing is because they feel that they have to “put themselves down” in order to make an apology. Not true. “I can see that you have been hurt in this situation.”, is much more effective than,” What a jerk I was to do that to you.” Usually the hurt is unintentional and so the hurt one will feel that the apology is phony if the apologizer is blaming himself or herself.
d. Awareness that the architecture of the apology is very important. The timing, the place, the presence or absence of others, the mood of the hurt one and also the mood of the apologizer, etc. are just as important as the words that are used.
e. Re – membering that for – giveness is always about oneself and not about another. Literally, to be FOR (the act of) GIVING OF SELF!!
f. Being aware of “pre-mature for – giveness”. There is a time when for – giveness is ready to happen. Reaching out to another can re – energize old wounds if the out – reach is pre-mature.
Good luck in your healing process. May your wounds heal well and may you successfully aid in the healing of the hurt being carried by your friends and family.
Re – member….. Love is letting go of fear.