Love also (sometimes) means that you have to apologize. Read this before you apologize to her (or him).
Mishaps happen in relationships. Despite our best intentions, there are times in relationships where one or both partners are careless with words, where feelings are hurt, where anger is unfairly suppressed, where there is insensitivity to the feelings of the other when we do things or say that we regret or that do harm, and more.
This is not meant to be a justification or an excuse for such transgressions, but an acknowledgement of the inevitability of these situations. It is of course a good idea to do what we can to minimize the frequency and severity of our violations, but when they do occur the next best thing is to do damage control.
This process generally involves repairing trust that has been broken or perceived as violated.
While sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” may be enough to restore benevolence after a breakdown, in many cases, especially those where there has been more serious anger, it will take more than that to restore benevolence.
A sincere apology involves more than a statement of regret over causing pain or trouble to another person. It’s a good start, of course, but it often takes more than that to complete the process.
There are several components involved in making an effective apology, including:
The admission that you acted or spoke in a way that, intentionally or unintentionally, caused emotional, mental, or physical harm or pain in another.
This requires a willingness to accept responsibility (not to be confused with guilt or failure) for having contributed to a decrease in trust, respect, or benevolence in the relationship.
A sincere apology is one in which the speaker has no other intention than to heal the damage that may have been caused in the relationship by their actions or words.
The words must come from the heart and honestly, and be spoken without attempting to force the other person to deceive or manipulate their feelings.
In the process of offering an apology, the offended party may suspend an apology while it is being offered. This is a great time to resist the temptation to insist that they let you finish, or “correct” or challenge them in some way.
Your partner can express a lot of feelings, feelings that sometimes have to do with other, previous unacknowledged disorders.
If you give him the chance to express himself without fear of reprisals, reactivity, or defensiveness on your part, you can show him that you really want to hear from him and that you are not just there to get him to listen to you.
Remember, your job here is not to be right or to defend yourself (although the impulse to do so is likely to be very strong), but that your actions are to embody your words.
In this case, it requires a willingness, if necessary, to shut up until your partner has had their say, even if that means allowing them to interrupt you or disagree with your perceptions or memories.
After they say it, in all likelihood they will be more open to hearing from you. Try to be patient.
4. Realize your intention
Be clear about your intentions before starting the conversation and be true to them.
This will help you stay on target without being distracted by the distractions that inevitably come up in heated conversations.
Remind yourself that your job is not to prove that you are right, but to show that you can be trusted, that you are not listening defensively and respecting your partner’s feelings, and that you really care about them and that care what they have to say.
Remember that silence does not mean consent, and just because you are not arguing with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you see everything as they do, you simply give them a chance to express their point of view.
5. Be curious instead of opposing.
Find out what your partner needs from you to come up with a solution to the anger instead of assuming you already know.
Even if they don’t tell you something you don’t already know, your genuine interest in their needs will communicate the kind of care they need to start trusting you again.
6. Don’t be too quick to ask for forgiveness.
Your partner may view your asking for forgiveness as just one more thing you’re trying to get from them. It will likely take more time than you think they “should” to adequately process their feelings.
Remember that forgiveness is a process, not an event. Apologies can and often are an integral part of this process. While the words of your apology are important, the behaviours you display during and after the apology process are just as important, if not more important.
As the saying goes, talking is cheap; it is the actions that really tell you what a person’s real intention is.
There is a difference between talking and doing.
But whatever happens to the metaphor of your choice, the key to effective apologies has to do with the depth of your sincerity, to embody your words in a way that shows your partner that you have learned and incorporated some critical lessons from that both of you will continue to benefit.
Apologizing becomes easier with practice, and if you are like most of us you will have many opportunities to do so, and each one can strengthen the qualities that great relationships require, including compassion, vulnerability, patience, commitment and intensity. to name just a few.
In doing so, it becomes possible not only to restore love and benevolence in your relationship but to raise it above the level at which it was before.
So don’t try to avoid acknowledging your part in future breakdowns (and there will be more), but use the opportunities to demonstrate your commitment to your partner and your relationship by sincerely apologizing when necessary. If you can offer them to your partner before they express their disappointment or anger, all the better.
Remember: apologizing doesn’t make you a worse person; it rather makes you more respectable in the eyes of others. It’s a reflection of integrity, not of weakness getting on you. And it will increase the strength of your relationship, not decrease it.
Are these enough reasons to apologize?