Maybe we said something to alienate someone, perhaps we judged too quickly or did something we regret. Instead of acknowledging that we've contributed to sadness or anger or disappointment in another, we hide behind reasons for doing what we did. By making a heartfelt apology, you acknowledge the hurt you've inflicted on another, releasing his or her pain while also defusing your guilt. For example, if a friend tells you that you hurt her feelings by saying something insensitive, acknowledge the slip without becoming defensive or blaming. For example, imagine how you might apologize to someone whose relative has passed on.
A true apology occurs when the heart and head are in alignment, when you intellectually and emotionally accept the responsibility for causing another person pain, even if you've done it unintentionally. Don't Expect Anything in Return A true apology is a selfless act. For example, "I thought you wanted me to be honest with you! For example, "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. An apology is insincere when it is about wanting -- forgiveness, attention -- and not about giving. I truly am sorry that I caused you any pain. By making a heartfelt apology, you acknowledge the hurt you've inflicted on another, releasing his or her pain while also defusing your guilt. Be Present A sincere apology can be spoken, written, or simply felt strongly. Drop Your Justifications Our tendency is take things personally, so personally that our egos and minds convince us that we were justified in acting in a way that hurt another person. An apology is sincere when we are able to recognize the feeling and move past the "why. A sincere apology releases the heart from guilt while soothing the pain of another. Accept the uncomfortable feelings that arise within you, and accept whatever reaction you get from the other person. We justify our actions, we present half-apologies, we blame the one we've hurt, or we expect something in return. This can also begin the process of restoring the trust that's been broken. All you need to do is acknowledge your part in the other person's pain without rushing through the moment. Yet a true apology can clear the air and potentially heal a relationship. Now that I know that speaking in that tone of voice rubs you the wrong way, I will work to change the way I approach you. Regardless of the words you choose, your true intention will shine through. Align Head and Heart It's easy to say "I'm sorry," but meaning it is another story. Instead of acknowledging that we've contributed to sadness or anger or disappointment in another, we hide behind reasons for doing what we did. It's important to deal with these feelings before approaching the one you've hurt, or you may reopen the conflict. Guilt robs the soul of joy and inner peace. Write Before Speaking If you are struggling to find the right words, write your apology down first. There is no right way to articulate your feelings of apology. At that point you can begin to make an apology that requires nothing from the one who is receiving it.
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