How to Survive: Saying I'm Sorry

By: Honey Good

You have gotten into a ‘pickle.’ You missed an appointment. Gotten aggravated unnecessarily. Lost your temper with a family member or girlfriend. Or worse!

You know you should apologize.

Many apologies tend to neglect or address the feelings of the person wronged because the apologizer uses an excuse to justify her action! That is not the way to get yourself out of the ‘pickle you created.’

Remember your goal: You want to make the other person feel better; not yourself.

If you make them feel better and they forgive you, you will feel better too.

A real apology is steeped in sincerity. Show your regret. Acknowledge the hurt or disappointment you caused.

An apology that is not steeped in sincerity usually interjects the word ‘but’ and then states that you are attempting to justify your actions. My husband, Shelly, taught me to listen for the word ‘but’ and be aware of how I use the word because as he says, “Everything before the word ‘but’ is Bull S…!  I am sure you get the point, darlings!

Tips for the best apology:

  • Never give excuses.
  • Show empathy.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is key.
  • Make your apology genuine.
  • Ask to be forgiven.

Unfortunately you may offer the most detailed and heartfelt apology and then this may happen:

  • The person may not be ready to forgive you at the moment.
  • The person may never be able to forgive you.

I suggest you might want to go back to the drawing board and reconstruct your message. If the relationship is important to the person, showing your vulnerability is an asset. The person will really know you are truly sorry and care.

If you are not forgiven, you know you sincerely tried. There are no words for this rejection, except I would like to say to you…I am sorry.

Photography by Hallie Duesenberg

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