ApologySure, an apology is usually directed at other people, but it is actually something you do for yourself. How? The reason to apologize is not because other people expect it from you (although they may), but because you should also expect it from yourself. It is part of your personal character to own up to the wrongs you have done to others. If you’re apologizing solely because of outside expectation, the apology is going to be hollow at its core.

A VIVID DEFINITION OF APOLOGY

According to Dictionary.com, an apology is a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another. In a layman’s language, it is an admission that you’ve wronged others and that you are actually sorry for it. This is of course why it’s difficult for people to apologize. No one likes to admit they are wrong or enjoys the complicated, defeated feelings that come with being in the wrong. But you’ve just got no choice!

THE ART OF APOLOGY

A meaningful apology is one that communicates all of these 3 vital factors – Remorse, Responsibility, and Remedy. Unless all three of these elements are present, the other person will sense that something is missing in your apology, thereby feeling even worse.

REMORSE (#3 in photo)

The desire to apologize needs to come from the realization that you have hurt someone or caused them some difficulty in their life. While your intention may not have been to hurt this person, you recognize that your action or inaction nevertheless did hurt or inconvenience them and for this, you feel bad. This regret or remorse needs to be communicated to the other person. A statement of regret for having caused the inconvenience, hurt or damage. This includes an expression of empathy toward the other person, including an acknowledgement of the inconvenience, hurt, or damage that you caused the other person. Having empathy for the person you hurt or angered is the most important part of your apology. When you truly have empathy the other person will feel it. Your apology will wash over him or her like a healing balm. On the other hand, if you don’t have empathy your apology will sound and feel empty.

RESPONSIBILITY (#1 & 2 in photo)

For an apology to be effective it must be clear that you are accepting total responsibility for your actions or inaction. Therefore, your apology needs to include a statement of responsibility. An acceptance of responsibility for your actions. This means not blaming anyone else for what you did and not making excuses for your actions but instead accepting full responsibility for what you did and for the consequences of your actions.

REMEDY (#4 & 5 in photo)

While you can’t go back and undo or redo the past, you can do everything within your power to repair the harm you caused. Therefore, a meaningful apology needs to include a statement in which you offer restitution in some way, an offer to help the other person, or a promise to take action so that you will not repeat the behavior. A statement of your willingness to take some action to remedy the situation, either by promising to not repeat your action, a promise to work toward not making the same mistake again, a statement as to how you are going to remedy the situation (go to therapy) or by making restitution for the damages you caused.

One final note to bear closely in mind is that not regarding the fact that you know you must apologize, the manner in which you apologize can be as important as the apology itself.