Do you feel comfortable apologizing when you’ve hurt someone? Do you find it easy, or is it really difficult to say the words, ‘I’m sorry’? Apologizing is essential in all relationships because it repairs trust and helps maintain it over time.
But saying ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t always come naturally. Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of “Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts”, explains in her book how easy it is to get our apologies wrong.
Here are some of the most common mistakes we make when apologizing for everyday hurts:
Adding “but” (“I’m sorry I forgot to pick up groceries, but the kids have been hectic today”)
Adding “if” (“I’m sorry if what I said offended you”)
Bringing up past hurts (“I’ll apologize for forgetting to pick up groceries if you apologize for forgetting my mom’s birthday”)
But that’s just the beginning. Want to learn more about why apologies are so important, how to apologize well, and how to deal with a situation when someone won’t apologize to you? Check out Dr. Lerner’s book “Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts” (you can access the book or audiobook at the Edmonton Public Library).
Above all, consider this: “A real apology demands that we listen differently—that we make an effort to listen for the essence of what the person is trying to tell us... Listening without defensiveness is the heart and soul of the good apology.” - Dr. Harriet Lerner