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Learn How to Make a Genuine Apology

Learn How to Make a Genuine Apology

So you know you messed up. You hurt someone else, whether it’s a friend, family member, or significant other. You may have spoken harshly, teased someone insensitively, failed to follow through on a promise, or in some other way disappointed or let down someone close to you.

In the best-case scenario, you say “I’m sorry,” and that’s about it. But often we’re embarrassed and want to move on so quickly that we don’t make sort of apology that is going to help repair your relationship. A sincere, genuine, and deeply felt apology can not only a fix the situation, it can make your relationship even stronger and closer than it was before.

So how do you make a genuine apology and show that you really mean it? Let’s go through the steps. For our purposes, we’ll use the example of forgetting plans to have dinner with your girlfriend and went out with your friends instead.

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1. Use specifics when you say you’re sorry

Just saying “Sorry” doesn’t cut it. “I’m really sorry you had to eat alone” is much better.  It shows you’re not trying to avoid a discussion of what you did wrong.

2. Ask how the other person feels

Yeah, you think you know why she’s mad, but maybe you don’t have the full story. Asking her to share more of her feelings will make her realize that you genuinely want to connect and understand her perspective. This will make her feel loved and close, in spite of your mistake. Also, it gives you a chance to correct any assumptions that your action may have led the other party to make.

Example:

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You: “What were you feeling when I didn’t text?”

Girlfriend: “I was sad. I was like, he doesn’t care enough to even contact me. Is that true?”

You: “No, I love you.  I genuinely forgot we were eating together tonight. But I should have texted to check, since I forget stuff a lot.”

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3. You openly acknowledge the other person’s feelings

This is called empathy, and it means that you are trying to understand exactly how the other person’s perspective. Try to remember a time when you felt the same way.

Example: “I really get how upset you are that I didn’t remember to text you and that I keep forgetting plans. You feel like I was thoughtless and selfish. I actually felt the same way when I was waiting around for my brother to call me last week to hang out, and then he never did.”

Remember, this is not the time to bring up anything negative about the person to whom you’re apologizing. Definitely don’t say, “I know how you feel because you didn’t text me yesterday all day so I had no idea if we had plans later.”

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4. Show that you’re committed to change

Come up with a plan to address this situation in the future so it doesn’t happen again. You want to show that this episode has taught you something. You’re going to try to behave differently in the future, so you’re less likely to hurt the other person again.

Example: “I don’t want this to happen again, I hate seeing you so upset. How about we sit down on Sunday nights and decide which nights we are definitely eating together and then I can put them in my calendar?”

These four steps will help you express your regret and sadness for having hurt another person, as well as convey that you understand their perspective and are committed to not messing up in the same way again. Instead of a quick “I’m sorry”—which can easily turn into a huge fight, as you may have experienced—these steps will ensure that your apology ends up making the relationship more trusting, solid, and close.

Happy apologizing!

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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