The Huffpost Good News shared a heartwarming story about a young library book reader, Jackson, who returned a book guiltily after tearing a page accidentally. Accompanying the book was a handwritten note offering a simple, but penitent apology.
The incident touched librarians, who often receive books with torn pages. This was the first one that came with a sincere apology. We seldom apologize, wanting to save our pride and self-esteem. That pride sabotages meaningful relationships that you can otherwise build with sincerity.
For a start, apologies reestablish trust. Apologizing when you have broken a rule of conduct tells the offended party that you know what rules are. You have more chance of making a person feel more assured if you agree that your behavior was out of line.
It also returns dignity to those you have hurt. Acknowledging that it was your fault helps an injured party to save his pride. It repairs relationships, and helps the injured party to refocus on your virtues.
Apologizing to someone sincerely reduces pain and stress considerably. It restores relationships.
Knowing when, where and how to apologize is the key to doing it sincerely. In general, if you can sense that something you did, deliberately or otherwise, has caused discomfort, it is good to apologize and clear the air. If you believe that the hurt party is simply being unreasonable, you may have to have a heart-to-heart talk with him. Own up to your faults, but remember that there is no need to take responsibility for something that is not your fault.
Express sincere regret for causing him hurt. He needs to know that you feel awful for putting him in a difficult position. It makes your apology sincere, and shows that you care. Do what you can to make amends, and reaffirm boundaries. This will help both parties to decide on preferred behavior.
Let go of results. Not all apologies will end in reconciliation. Often, a person will forgive you, but stay guarded. If you have done what you can, let this go and let time heal wounds.