Dr. Romance's 4 Steps to an Effective, Honest Apology
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Uh-oh. You messed up, and now you boyfriend, relative or best friend is really mad at you. Do you even know why? Dr. Romance licensed psychotherapist and author, explains how to figure out what's wrong and resolve the anger.
Dr. Romance’s 4 Steps: How to Apologize
1. Surrender to your responsibility. When you become aware that you have made a mistake, admit it and apologize. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. You don’t have to be afraid of punishment or rejection – apologizing makes it easier to be forgiven.
2. Don’t be afraid to admit you're wrong. This fear comes from a culture of blaming and accusing -- where your early family or schoolmates may have picked a "culprit" when something went wrong, and focused on blame, rather than on fixing the problem and healing the hurt. Don’t approach every situation as if you're on trial, and don’t compulsively try to convince everyone you're not guilty. Apology and subsequent forgiveness is stress-releasing, and healthy for the relationship, which turns out to be healthy for the participants in the relationship. Relationships which include healthy apology and forgiveness are less stressful, more supportive, and therefore healthier for the individuals within them.
3. Follow the following pattern for apology: * Admit your mistake: Speak directly to the person to whom you need to apologize.* State what you did (so the person knows you’re aware)* Say you’re sorry* Do a re-take: Describe what change you’ll make to fix it, and so it won’t happen again * Say “I hope you can forgive me.”
4. If that doesn’t work, ask the other person what he or she wants you to apologize for (in case you misunderstood your mistake)
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