Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Good Apology

Image by Sebastien Wiertz

Listen to this letter of apology:
"Dear Dog,
   I am so sorry about you being sent to the dog pound for the broken lamp which you did not break; the fish you did not spill; and the carpet that you did not wet; or the wall that you did not dirty with red paint...
   Things here at the house are calmer now, and just to show you that I have no hard feelings towards you, I am sending you a picture, so you will always remember me.
Best regards, The Cat"
The Old French root of the word "repent" is "repentir," which actually means to be sorry. The cat may have said he was sorry, but there is no sorrow here.

It reminds of me of the story of a woman with fourteen children, ages one through fourteen, who decided to sue her husband for divorce on grounds of desertion. "When did he desert you?" the judge asked. "Thirteen years ago," she replied. "He left 13 years ago? Where did all the children come from?" The woman looked sheepish. “He kept coming back to say he was sorry."

Again, no sorrow here, for if he'd been truly sorry, he'd have stayed. Sincere repentance always leads to change.

We need to learn how to make a GOOD APOLOGY -- one that is sincere and honest. One that gets the job done. Offering a good apology is not something many people do well. But we can learn.

It is well said that a good apology has three parts: I am sorry; it is my fault; what can I do to make it right?

I am sorry. Three short words that, when they are heart-felt, can be most difficult to say. But when uttered, they can change lives.

It is my fault. No excuses. No blame. Psychologist Carl Jung insightfully said, “The only person I cannot help is one who blames others.” When we accept fault we have the power to do something about it. When we pass the blame, we are helpless to keep it from happening again.

What can I do to make it right? Unless we change something, nothing changes. A good apology is followed by action. Otherwise, it is only words.

If you are going to apologize, apologize well. Never ruin your apology with an excuse and back it up with action.

Learning how to make a good apology is too important to neglect. It’s part of maintaining whole and healthy relationships. And it’s something we can practice today.

-- Steve Goodier


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