Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Art of Apologizing

An "I'm sorry IF I did something wrong" apology is shallow. 
An apology with no repentance is heartbreaking.

Have you ever received one of these apologies from someone? They don't feel very good, do they? Sometimes I think it'd be better to not receive an apology at all.

"I'm sorry IF I did something wrong" - the apologizer doesn't really know the extent of their fault, and they are not fully taking responsibility for their actions. This type of apology acts as a bandaid - attempting to cover over the wrong or hurtful action but not attempting to go any deeper. It's a shallow sugarcoat that is pretty lame.

The apology with no repentance may be made genuinely, but then the apologizer goes and does the same hurtful action in the future with no desire to change or mend their ways. The pattern is repeated numerous times in a vicious cycle. It is worse when this takes place between two people who are very close.

I read an article about a teacher who instructed her students in how they should apologize to each other and I really have to commend her for her efforts to instill this important skill in her pupils. Apologizing with genuine repentance is crucial - it is my opinion that almost NO ONE knows how to apologize anymore! Genuine grief over wrongdoings is going out the window. No one cares to make real peace anymore.

Here's how that teacher taught her students to apologize:
1. Say "I apologize for...." (give specific example - taking that toy from you, being impatient in line, saying "You're ugly." etc)
This tells the other person that you fully recognize what you did and that it was wrong or hurtful.

2. Say "That was wrong of me because..." (again, give specific reason - "it's not nice to take things without asking, I need to wait my turn, that was mean to say and it would've hurt my feelings to be told that.")
This shows the other person that you recognize their hurt feelings and that you sympathize with them.

3. Say "In the future I will..." (give specific example of how you will change - "ask politely for something I want, not be impatient, hold my tongue when I feel like saying something mean.")
This promises the other person that you want to avoid making the same transgression against them in the future.

4. Ask for forgiveness. "Will you forgive me?" invites them to offer you forgiveness without demanding it.

I would like to teach my children to apologize this way. I would also like to start using this method myself and implementing it in my daily life. What about you? Will you learn the art of apologizing with me?