Apologizing is important in healing relationships. If what you said or did would have bothered you if it was said or done to you, than an apology is in order. Doing so well can help rebuild trust.
An apology shows that you care about the other person. While your behavior was substandard, an apology also shows that you care about fixing your mistakes, and desire to do better. It clears the path for open communication with the person you wronged, and will help you regain your self-respect.
Since one of you blog readers asked for a post about apologizing, here is my advice:
Be sincere and honest.
Recognize your mistake.
Express regret and remorse.
Do not delay in admitting you were wrong.
Say you are sorry without making excuses.
Resist the temptation to say, “I’m sorry, but”…!
Name what you did wrong, and completely own the mistake without sharing blame with anyone else.
Not only admit the mistake, but acknowledge clearly and specifically the negative impact that it had.
Acknowledge that social norms or expectations were violated.
Be empathetic to the other person. Listen to them. Be patient with their feelings.
Do not self justify. Don’t defend yourself.
Discuss what is allowed and not allowed in your relationship. Reaffirm boundaries.
Agree to make changes in the future. Have an action plan for how you will right the wrong.
Ask for forgiveness and promise to work toward reform.
Then, do the hard, self-immolating work to reform! Make amends. Recompense, compensate, fix or replace. Actually change your behavior. Actions speak louder than words. Commit to becoming a better person, and to never make the same mistake again.
Realize that while your behavior changes might benefit the other person, the motive force for why the change needs to happen should stem from within you. You are making yourself make changes; it is not about them.
Ultimately an apology is a self journey. Don’t expect a return apology. Don’t expect to be forgiven, either. If you are, that is gravy, but it is outside your control. The important thing is that you have done what is necessary to right your wrong.
Move on with what you have learned, which is now embedded in the fiber of your being. Be grateful you are now a better, more alert, and compassionate person.