When was the last time you really apologized? Truly, genuinely apologized and owned it – without explanation or excuse – but just a pure apology?
For the longest time I thought I was good at apologizing until I listened to this podcast by Michael Hyatt.
I always thought, I have no problem apologizing. The words, I’m sorry are no problem for me, but that’s because I had convinced myself I was really apologizing when I was not. I was accompanying the apology with some sort of explanation or excuse.
It’s a total mind trick! Keep reading…
Do you use sentences like, “I’m sorry IF I upset you,” or “I’m sorry BUT…..”
That’s exactly what I would do!
I would think long and hard about what words to use when I would apologize. My “apology” would always include a reason why, which was really a way to justify my actions.
As Michael Hyatt says, “using the words IF and BUT in apologies are big emotional eraser marks.” Those completely throw the fault onto the other person.
It’s like saying, “It wasn’t my intention to upset you, but since YOU’RE too sensitive, and that YOU misinterpreted my words, I’ll apologize.”
This kind of apology is self indulgent. It’s about feeling better about yourself rather than truly caring about the other person’s feelings. Actually, it’s not an apology at all.
If we want to have genuine and deep relationships, we have to be more authentic in our apologies.
Michael Hyatt highlights four difficult sentences that everyone needs to become more comfortable with. Once I integrated these, I felt completely liberated!
1. I’m sorry:
This is the first step in truly acknowledging that you did something wrong. It is also is the first step in either mending or strengthening your friendship.
2. I know what I did hurt:
This, I think is the biggest and most difficult one, which is why it is most important. This validates the other person’s feelings. This is the opposite of “I’m sorry but or I’m sorry if.” You’re letting that person know that even if it was a misinterpretation, or you never meant it to hurt, that you understand that it did. By NOT saying if or but, or even mentioning the excuses, you’ve taken 1oo% responsibility.
3. I was wrong:
This is where you admit to yourself that what occurred was wrong, and commit to self improvement. Letting the other person know this verbally shows that you’re committed to strengthening your friendship by becoming more aware of how your actions and reactions effect others.
4. Will you forgive me:
Asking for forgiveness is so important because you’re acknowledging that forgiveness isn’t just expected. You’re also letting the other person know that you care whether they forgive you or not. Between you and me, it’s also pretty rare for someone to ask for forgiveness these days.
Before I listened to this podcast I used to say, “I hope you can forgive me.” I realize that those words are just as bad as the if’s and but’s in the apology. Saying, “I hope you can forgive me” is another way of making it the other person’s problem.
Asking for forgiveness is humble.
Why is it so hard to apologize?
Why do we need to blame it on the other person, or find an excuse? Even if it was a misinterpretation, why not own up and say, “I’m sorry. I understand now that my words were hurtful. I’m going to work on my communication for next time. Will you forgive me?”
No one is perfect and there is always room for improvement. There’s NOTHING wrong with that!
Using If or But, and accompanying an apology with an explanation is not sincere. I had convinced myself it was. This was a HUGE wake up call!
A. Live each day with love, compassion, and authenticity. Realize that living this way doesn’t make you perfect, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t ever hurt someone and make mistakes. Liberate yourself from that idea!
B. When it happens that someone informs you that your actions hurt them, practice these four sentences. Notice if you start to make excuses or use the words if and but when making an apology. If you do say that out of habit, just retract it. Over time you’ll get better at it.
C. Ask for forgiveness, and don’t have an expectation. That person might not be ready to forgive you. Just know you did the right thing.
I guarantee now that you’ve read this, you’ll become aware of how others apologize. I’ve realized it’s so hard for others to really get the words out without excuses or conditions, and I’m no stranger to this.
Take 100% responsibility for your actions, and you can’t go wrong.
Are these words difficult for you? Is there someone in your life that always makes excuses when he/she apologizes? Tell me in the comments below!