Have you ever given consideration to how you receive apologies? When we feel we have been wronged, there’s a natural tendency to feel that we are owed an apology. Sometimes we feel anxious, we blame, we feel righteous and we expect the person to apologize to us until we feel better.
The next time you feel someone owes you an apology, remember this: You own your feelings. No one else is responsible for how you feel. This does not mean that you are not owed an apology. It is good and right to apologize.
Most of us learn the hard way (if ever) how to apologize. Even fewer of us learn how to accept an apology.
When you owe someone an apology, think before you speak. Much heartache and discontent will be avoided with a quick, sincere, heart-felt apology. When apologizing, state exactly what you are apologizing for. Here’s an example of a good apology, “I apologize for being late. I know that I was disrespectful of your time and that was inconsiderate of me. Please forgive me.” This kind of apology if stated sincerely in a warm tone of voice will go a long way to soothing the other person. Unfortunately, most people, if they apologize at all, will simply say “Sorry I’m late.” That simply is not enough if the other person is bothered by the fact that you were late.
Now, if you are the person who was receiving this apology, it’s your responsibility to accept it graciously. Keep calm. Do not lash out, regardless of your feelings. You were given an apology. Accept it and move on. If you are having trouble controlling your emotions, try something like this, “I was pretty worked-up and it might take me a few minutes to calm down, but I want you to know I do appreciate your apology.”
If you expect the other person to continue to apologize to you until you feel better, you will be sorely disappointed. How many times would they need to apologize? Chances are, if that’s what you’re waiting for, you’ll never be satisfied. The other person will feel belittled, undervalued and at a loss of power to remedy the situation. The relationship will suffer unless you take responsibility for your own feelings.
Make just one swift, thoughtful, sincere and heart-felt apology.
Accept sincere apologies swiftly. Control your emotions and move on.
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