APOLOGY is one of the most powerful ways of reconciling a struggling relationship.
Saying sorry is about one person taking the low ground for the benefit of the relationship. That person takes responsibility to love the other, given that love gives. Saying sorry is the gift of a second chance for the relationship.
Apology is about saying, I want more intimacy, trust or comfort with you, and I’m prepared to work for it.
Putting two allied concepts together, this short article should equip you to say your very best apology. These two concepts are the five languages of apology, and the seven A’s of confession.
This is a good model apology:
I am sorry for what I did. I understand it hurt you in [insert reasons] this particular way. I want to make it up to you by doing [a particular restorative action]. I promise not to do it again. Can you please forgive me?
This apology has elements to satisfy everyone’s ‘language’ of apology. Some need to simply hear the words, I’m sorry. Others need to know we understand what we did wrong. Some want some sort of restitution — are you going to make it right? Others again need to know there won’t be a repeat of the offense. Finally, some want the opportunity to forgive. By making an apology covering every language, we ensure the apology has its best chance of effect.
The seven A’s of confession are a way of demonstrating sincerity and thoroughness; the heart of apology. We need to address everyone affected by our wrong actions. Avoiding the words if, but and maybe ensure the apology is potently unconditional; no excuses. Admitting the specifics of what was done wrong is so important to demonstrate we understand the issue(s), and we have the courage to name it. Acknowledging the hurt we caused allows us to express sorrow for having caused it. Accepting the consequences means we understand and agree with the justice required; no excuses. Promising to alter our behaviour in future helps them to consider trusting us again. Asking for forgiveness grants the other person power to acquit us should they choose to.
This apology by former Olympian, Marion Jones, is a great example of a confession covering the seven A’s. As you watch it, notice how you feel? Jones is convincing, isn’t she? There’s power in her presence because her heart is behind it. She really is repentant.