Own what you did and say “I’m sorry.”
Of course, for an apology to be effective, you have to mean it, and your actions have to demonstrate that as well, but these two words are extremely important.
It can be hard to own when you mess up if your relationship is already struggling.
It may feel like you’re opening yourself up to more criticism and hostility, so it can feel easier to shove under the rug and avoid the whole thing.
Unless you own up to your mistakes, however, you’re perpetuating your existing relationship difficulties and actually adding to them.
Many times when I’m sitting in front of a couple, I see exactly what one person needs from their partner. Nine times out of ten, it’s simply a heartfelt expression of how they feel.
If you screw up, I bet you’re sorry!
It doesn’t mean you are a terrible person. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be with your partner. It doesn’t mean you should be ashamed of yourself.
When you screw up, it simply means: you’re human.
To create your best relationships, you need to make the implicit explicit.
In other words, you need to let your partner know how much they matter to you.
That might mean simply seeing things from their perspective and owning the fact that you messed up somehow: “I’m sorry.”
More often than not, partners who are struggling need and want the same things as each other.
We all need to be seen, heard, understood, and to feel like a priority.
Sometimes people want that so badly, however, and feel they aren’t getting that from their partner, so they stop being honest about how they feel about each other.
They assume their partner knows how much they matter, but refuse to say it.
As a result, they wind up sabotaging their relationship and make it extra difficult to truly be seen, heard and understood, because they’re so scared they won’t be.
They’re scared that if they apologize and don’t stay strong for themselves, the entire foundation of their worth will collapse all over them.
Ever felt that way?
You can see how this makes it hard to just apologize.
This defensive self-protection doesn’t work in love, though. It just builds more resentment, erodes trust and causes more distance.
Simply saying “I’m sorry” when you screw up (and actually meaning it, and not using it as an excuse) is one of the most powerful things you can do in your relationship and in your business. The fact of the matter is that you’re going to mess up by virtue of being human.
And these apologies I’m talking about don’t go like this: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but…” (which is one of the worst things you can say to anyone), but go more like this: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”
It’s tempting to skip to the “what I meant was” and cut out the actual thing you said that was hurtful or action you took that was a mistake, intentional or not. But that bypasses the process of seeing that you dropped the ball and prevents you from ever picking it up again in your partner’s eyes.
I love being right, by the way, and I hate being wrong. And I hate messing up, saying things out of reaction or letting people down.
I don’t love apologizing either.
But I have to own the fact that I screw up, act out and make mistakes. When I’m at my best, I can say sorry, like the Biebs.
There’s a glorification of being “unapologetic” that I have seen sweep the women’s entrepreneurial landscape over the last few years and I think it’s done a lot of damage to relationships with significant others, personal and professional.
When I do business with someone who screws up and apologizes, you can bet I’m going back to that person faster than someone who makes a mistake and doesn’t admit it.
Business is relationships, and it’s up to us to create our best ones. Knowing how to say sorry is part of that – in romantic relationships and in our businesses.
How do you apologize like you mean it?
Check out this video for some advice on how to effectively apologize:
Let me know in the comments, how did YOU feel last time someone screwed up and genuinely apologized to you?
It makes a difference!
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