In relationships there are lots of times where we make mistakes that can end up hurting our partner. Ideally it is something little but most of us can be guilty of occasionally doing things that can cause some real damage. Learning how to repair these hurts can allow for everyone to move forward in a positive direction without anyone remaining in pain or holding grudges. So what is the art behind making a good apology? There are three key steps:
- Understand what it is you have done that has actually caused your partner hurt. In order to do this you have to think about the impact your actions have had and reflect on what that would have been like for your partner to be on the receiving end of. If you aren’t clear than ask, but don’t assume you understand if you don’t because this can not only cause more hurt but also prevent your apology from sounding sincere.
- Take ownership without adding in an explanation or rationalization. It is important to own your role in this without trying to explain why you did it. As soon as we rationalize, justify or explain our behavior it becomes about our story instead of our partner’s. We don’t want to minimize or take away from our partner’s experience because we prioritize ourselves and our reasons over their feelings.
- Come up with a solution that will either make it better or ensure that you won’t do it again. If we don’t problem solve then it doesn’t provide the assurance that we don’t plan on making the same mistake again. Your partner wants to know how you are going to fix the issue or at the very least what steps you are going to take to try to fix it. Come up with some ideas or brainstorm this together so you can both be clear on what will heal the hurt that has been caused.
Learning to apologize sincerely can make a huge difference in your relationship and how connected you feel. It will also help repair any intentional or accident injuries so that you can move forward together happy, healthy and healed!