Saying I'm Sorry the Right Way - 3 Tips

Posted by Imago Relationships North America on August 28, 2019 at 11:11 AM

1 minute read

Saying I'm Sorry the Right Way - 3 Tips - Imago Relationships North America

Ever wonder why some of your apologies fall flat and you’re not forgiven?

Ask yourself… Did you really own it? Or, did you do some of the following?

  1. You focused on how awful you felt instead of the impact of your actions and how it might have hurt them. Saying, "I feel just awful..." shows no real responsibility because it’s all about you.

  2. You focused on how they felt instead of your actions and your behaviors. For example, saying “I'm sorry you felt hurt,” still shows no responsibility.  

  3. You actually attempted to justify your actions. Wrong. For example, saying “I’m so sorry, but if you hadn’t…” still shows you couldn’t seem to own it!

So, try these 3 steps to own it and apologize so it matters:
  1. Don’t generalize your words. Be specific and acknowledge your exact, hurtful behavior or action. For example, saying “I’m sorry I was 30 minutes late to pick you up from work,” shows you have respect and understanding.

  2. Take responsibility for the pain or problems you’ve caused. For example, saying “I know you got off work early so we could go to a movie and my tardiness caused you to miss out on your finance meeting at work," shows you taking responsibility for past behavior.

  3. Take action and make a commitment to no longer repeat your mistake. Work on being on time and explain how you'll do this moving forward. For example, saying “I’ll set a calendar reminder 30 minutes earlier for all of our dates so I won't be late anymore," shows you're committing to improving yourself.

It’s important to repair the damage you’ve created with others by making sure your apology is specific, responsible and action-oriented.  You'll also want to focus on being humble when you share your apology. As well as, be courageous even if you feel they will not accept your apology. 

Bottom line - do the next right thing, apologize and OWN IT!  

If you're struggling to say sorry to those you love and care about, we're here to help. Check out our Imago Relationship workshops and therapyWe also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!    

Discover more about Imago with our Imago Professional MembershipImago Professional Facilitators, Imago Professional Training and Imago Educational Webinars


Topics: Managing Conflict, Healthy Relationships, Emotional Safety, Forgiveness, Healthy Communication, Imago Relationships, Forgiveness Heals, Forgiveness Is Key, Apology, Sorry, Apologize

About the blog

52 tips for self-care and personal growth from Imago Relationship experts on breaking bad habits, what to do when you are in a crisis, how to move on after a bad breakup and healing relationships.

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