We toss apologies like dirty tissues. Sorry for this, I apologize for that. Some of us apologies too damn much.
But when it comes down to a real suck-it-up “I’m soooooo sorry” moment, where a relationship hangs in the balance, we usually fail at our apology. We deliver our apology like a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Not so fast.
It doesn’t work that way when the stakes are high. You need to learn how to deliver an apology that lifts a burden from the OTHER person’s shoulders, not your own. And THAT is this difference between an effective and ineffective apology.
In this episode, podcast super fan Kendra Holliday shares her story of researching and crafting a selfless apology to her now estranged daughter.
I share my own story of preparing and delivering apologies to my adult son and his girlfriend.
Both Kendra and I love our children. We each had our own moments when we felt we were losing something as mothers and we verbally lashed out at our kids. Ugh. If only we could turn back the clock? We regret our words and feel ashamed of our knee-jerk responses to our kids.
Kendra’s situation had a far more serious repercussion than mine. If you are a Mom or Dad and don’t feel the pain in her story… well, trust me you will.
As mentioned in the episode, Kendra commissioned an oil painting of a photograph taken when her daughter was just five years old. The painting hangs in her daughter’s childhood bedroom as a tribute.
Please learn from our mistakes. Make amends – not excuses.
Elements of a selfless apology:
- Start with saying that you apologize for what I did and detail what you did in plain language, without minimizing your actions
- Express your remorse and why you feel they deserve an apology
- Acknowledge the hurt you have created
- Share that you understand how that must have made them feel, without minimizing your responsibility
- Assure them that you will not do it again
- Ask what, if anything, you can do to repair the damage you have caused. Offer assistance to mend the damage.
- Ask for their forgiveness
- Thank them for listening and/or for their forgiveness