October 20, 2015 by Soo Ee
I saw someone whom I parted ways with on a bad note.
The accidental meeting was an opportunity for me to do something that happened a long time ago.
I got up and walked out of that place without so much as a word or a look in B’s direction.
I am usually not this fearful. I didn’t know what got into me but it sure wasn’t good.
I wasn’t going to be a better person acting this way.
Reflecting upon that incident, I realised that in order for me to remove the guilt I have been feeling, I had to take action and do something. I might not ever bump into B again but I want to be ready to ‘make things right’ if I ever bump into her.
1. Express regret. Expressing regret is the emotional aspect of an apology. Expressing regret is expressing to the person my guilt towards what I have done. It is also to bring to surface the shame and pain that my actions have done to her. A simple “I am sorry” could go a long way towards restoring goodwill.
2. Be sincere about the apology. I must act truly about my own feelings, thoughts, desires and beliefs. Only then would B’s know I am truly sincere about apologising.
3. Be specific. Say ‘I am sorry for ______.’ I understood how much I have hurt B so I want to be specific and focus on the details of my understanding so as to direct them to her.
4. Do not use the ‘but’ word. Follow a sincere apology with ‘but’ cheapens the value of the apology.
5. Don’t shift the blame. Shifting the blame moves the situation from an apology to an attack, which is both unforgivable and uncalled for.
6. Visualise and practise the apology. It will help prepare me emotionally and mentally.
7. Make a note about what I want to say to make sure the above mentioned are checked and done.
“If you want to change attitudes, start with a change in behavior. In other words, begin to act the part, as well as you can, of the person you would rather be, the person you most want to become. Gradually, the old, fearful person will fade away.” Dr William Glasser
Adapted from The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas.