Love Series ~ I’m Sorry
A topic that comes up ALL the time in my practice is… apologies.
Many times, it is coming from the partner who feels they are owed an apology and they can’t understand why they aren’t getting it. Sometimes, it is someone wondering if their person is capable of apologizing because they ‘never’ do it. And sometimes, it is someone wondering why, when they apologize, it somehow turns into another argument.
There is no doubt that saying I’m Sorry can be difficult for many people. Some people believe that to apologize is admitting we are ‘wrong’, or it means we ‘lose’ the argument. First of all, if your goal is to win an argument, you are already on the wrong path and you may want to click HERE to read my article about how to Fight Fair.
Apologizing is not about being right or wrong. An apology is a way to be respectful to your partner by acknowledging their feelings and offering some validation. Let’s talk about how we can make these already difficult conversations a little better and easier.
First, I want to be clear. An argument is NEVER the fault of one person alone. We are in this together. We create friction together and we create discomfort together. If your view is that your counterpart is wrong and you are right, then we have a lot of work to do.
Try to first recognize what is your part in the argument? Did you raise your voice? Did you roll your eyes? Did you walk away or out of the room? Did you deliver the ever-so-infamous siiiiighhhhh? All of these seemingly small details are how we take a simple conversation and escalate it to an argument or a fight.
And if we do any of these things, then we need to say I’m Sorry. These actions may seem small, but they speak volumes. All of those instances are dismissive and can be condescending. I always think how I feel when someone does it to me- if it makes me angry or sad or mad, then I absolutely don’t want to do it to someone else.
If you are the person giving the apology, keep it simple. Oftentimes we want to launch into why we did what we did or why we felt the way we felt… just stop. Say I’m sorry, and leave it at that. The moment you begin to defend your actions again, it diminishes the magic of the apology because you are only apologizing to have another opportunity to defend yourself! STOP! An apology is about offering validation to the other person, it is not about YOU explaining yourself!
There is incredible wave of relief and love that comes when you say I’m sorry. You get to watch your partner’s face relax as their defenses drop because you aren’t launching another attack of explanations.
Same story here. If you are the person receiving the apology, just be quiet. This is not the time to go into the why I said it and why I felt this way and why I did what I did. Just say ‘Thank you’ and nothing more. The truth behind successful resolution is actually hearing what the other person is saying.
After everyone is calm and back in a loving place we can take the opportunity to explain our point of view and why we did or said what we did. But when it is time to apologize the best thing we can do is keep it simple and remember it is about offering respect and validation to the other person. It is not to feed our own agenda.
Here are some examples of how to apologize simply and easily:
“I’m sorry the conversation went like that, it wasn’t my intention to fight with you”.
“I apologize for interrupting you or talking over you, I want to hear what you were saying”.
“I’m sorry I got so upset, I really don’t want to argue”.
“I’m sorry I shut down. That isn’t how I want to handle tough situations”.
Whether it’s a co-worker, family member, neighbor, or spouse, hopefully this proven strategy will help to keep things calm and create REAL resolution!
I hope these tips are helpful, look for more great information and articles HERE!