The Art of An Apology in A Relationship
We all make mistakes, especially in our relationships. We hurt the people we love by breaking promises, lying, making rude comments or jokes at their expense, having unrealistic expectations and the list goes on.
We are not meant to be perfect. Sometimes we say or do the wrong thing and we hurt someone by something we said or did, or didn’t say or do.
I’m not sure if you have any examples of situation’s that have caused hurt between 2 people and all that was needed was an apology, but no one was willing to give in and be the first to say “I’m sorry”.
And the relationship ended out of pure stubbornness and the willing to risk everything for their pride. There are so many family issues where this has been the case.
Where someone has taken something too far and then not been willing to back down and make amends. I’m talking father daughter relationships, brother – sister, friendships, peers at work.
As you can see situations that cause people to be hurt, angry or offended happen in our personal relationships but also in every other relationship we have.
So learning how to give an apology really is a life skill that needs to be learned and practiced.
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Some clients express the fact that they don’t argue in front of their children or they try not to. I disagree with this. I think parents need to argue in front of their children if they are able to do it as adults and not make personal attacks – obviously not the deal breaker kind of issues.
There are definitely some things that are not for children to hear. But everyday stuff should be argued or discussed in front of the children – because they need to see their parents, 2 people who love each other having an issue and resolving it.
The emphasis here is teaching children that just because we are having a disagreement it doesn’t mean we don’t love and respect each other. It means that everyone has arguments but we get through them – together. I can’t think of a better life lesson to teach your children.
If you hide arguments from your kids you are teaching them that life is perfect and there are no problems and that is not how it is in the real world. It’s all about honesty, expectations and the ability to love someone through the good and bad times.
Why You Need to Apologise
When we behave badly, we need to apologize — quickly, in a heartfelt way. But sometimes, “sorry” just isn’t enough.
Why? Because there is an art to a heartfelt apology and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
You need to know when it’s time to apologise to your partner in business and in life and how to apologise.
The art of apologising takes thought and practice. It’s one thing to say you’re sorry, it’s another thing to mean it and another thing for someone to accept it.
Apologising and making amends isn’t about getting something (forgiveness) for yourself. It’s about giving something to another person — empathy, respect, consideration and honesty.
An Apology Can Be an Ending or A Beginning
Apologies can be the start of a fresh new chapter or the end of a shitty one. There are plenty of situations when a conflict has caused hurt but no one wanted to be the first to apologise. Then the relationship ends out of pure stubbornness and pride.
Let’s face it… we can all be an arsehole at times, but we don’t have to be. Some people feel they have the luxury to string out the conflict and make the other person suffer – but really, for what gain? To show who’s in charge?
For example, withholding affection and sex, giving the silent treatment, threatening to leave the relationship, taking off without any notice.
Our actions and reactions can make a situation better or worse and you get to choose. We need to acknowledge our own role in a conflict.
One of the big problems with conflict and apologies is our expectations. We think because we’ve been together for long enough they should just “know they F*cked up.” I would say the proof is in the pudding.
Evidence shows us day after day that our partners don’t know us as well as we think they should. And of course – that goes both ways.
We expect our partners to know how we feel, even if we can’t explain it ourselves. We expect them to know what we’re thinking, even when we’re confused ourselves and we expect our partners to know what to do even if we are absolutely clueless.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster because it means we are ultimately being let down and disappointed. Then we’re going to lose our shit or start to withdraw. Neither are a good response for a loving relationship.
Our partner may let us down by not knowing us as well as we think they should but that’s not intentional, however when we’re emotionally disturbed by it, the claws come out and we can get nasty.
The difference is when we get ourselves worked up into that kind of emotional state, we’re looking to hurt our partner and punish them for letting us down. Like I said this goes both ways. We all do it or have done it. It’s obviously not our finest moment.
It would be great if we went through life, being and doing our best and giving our partner 100% but that’s not real life.
We are going to mess up sometimes and that’s ok. You just need to know when to stop getting caught up in your own bullshit and do the right thing… like apologising.
Accountability means you’re willing to look at how you reacted and what you did that wasn’t appropriate.
Sometimes all you need to do to make a different with the situation is to own it. This shows that you understand and have empathy.
I know this is a learned skill, but if you’re willing to look at yourself first, then you’ll have the power to change any situation.
Forgiveness means that you’re willing to look past the situation for the good of your relationship, the good of your family or friendship.
It’s about making a decision that the current situation doesn’t define your relationship and that no emotion is as strong as the love you have for your partner. Sometimes we forget that our love has the power to heal all wounds.
Forgiving someone is a step closer to resolving issues, gaining understanding and bringing people closer. It’s also a gift to yourself because you’re not wasting your energy focusing on bad feelings or thoughts.
If someone is willing to apologise and it could be your partner, a friend, your staff, a customer or someone in your family then you need to be ready to forgive them too. If you’re not ready then that’s something you need to work on.
When someone has the courage to apologise, it’s a big deal. That means someone is willing to put their pride on the line, make themselves vulnerable and they’re trying to makes things right.
As the recipient, you need to decide if you’re going to allow the conflict to end by accepting the apology or continue the conflict by rejecting it.
Unfortunately, there are some problems that have no easy fixes. No matter how much you apologise or how sorry you are. Some things are just deal breakers in a relationship.
Saying sorry doesn’t change what’s happened but it does show empathy and remorse. Learning to apologise in a way that feels right to your partner is essential. Not every apology is equal.
You can learn the 4 ways to apologise to your partner by clicking this link.