So, next time you need to own up to a mistake, keep these three ingredients in mind to make sure your apology is felt in the spirit it was intended.
1. Skip excuses.
Your apology doesn’t need explanations, reasons, or validations. “I'm sorry” is one of the most healing sentences in our language, yet it's so often left unadorned. We feel compelled to add, “but I was just so disappointed” or, “but you really hurt my feelings.” These three words weigh as much in the heart of a waiting recipient as “I love you," and are crucial to the health of enduring relationships.
So, why do we always feel the urge to excuse ourselves? When we realize we’ve hurt or offended someone, we get embarrassed and afraid. Our instinct is to protect ourselves from the consequences, the anger, the hurt.
It always takes a little time to digest — to process what I did, why I did it, and put myself in the place of whomever I offended. A genuine apology never comes instantly, and it shouldn't. It requires perspective, vulnerability, and bravery.