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Almost like magic, apology has the power to repair harm, mend relationships, soothe wounds and heal broken hearts.
Apology is not just a social nicety. It is an important ritual, a way of showing respect and empathy for the wronged person. It is also a way of acknowledging an act that, if otherwise left unnoticed, might compromise the relationship. Apology has the ability to disarm others of their anger and to prevent further misunderstandings. While an apology cannot undo harmful past actions, if done sincerely and effectively, it can undo the negative effects of those actions.
Apology is crucial to our mental and even physical health. Research shows that receiving an apology has a noticeable, positive physical effect on the body. An apology actually affects the bodily functions of the person receiving it—blood pressure decreases, heart rate slows and breathing becomes steadier.
If you have difficulties apologizing, the following will teach you the most effective way to go about it. A meaningful apology communicates the three R's: regret, responsibility and remedy.
Regret: statement of regret for having caused the hurt or damage
While your intention may not have been to cause harm, you recognize that your action or inaction nevertheless did hurt this person. This regret needs to be communicated. This includes an expression of empathy with an acknowledgement of the injustice you caused.
Responsibility: an acceptance of responsibility for your actions
This means not blaming anyone else and not making excuses for what you did. For an apology to be effective it must be clear that you are accepting total responsibility for your action or inaction. Therefore, your apology needs to include a statement of responsibility.
Remedy: a statement of willingness to remedy the situation
While you can't undo the past, you can repair the harm you caused. Therefore, a meaningful apology needs to include a statement in which you offer restitution, or a promise to take action so that you will not repeat the behavior.
Unless all three of these elements are present, the other person will sense that something is missing in your apology and he or she may feel shortchanged.
With permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, from The Power of Apology, by Beverly Engel.
|Simple Sentence||I like dogs.|
|Compound Sentence||I like dogs, so we have three dogs as pets!|
|Complex Sentence||Since I love dogs, we have three as pets!|
|Declarative Sentence||Dogs are the best pet.|
|Interrogative Sentence||Do you like dogs, too?|
|Imperative Sentence||Always give your dog food and water.|
|Exclamatory Sentence||That dog just caught the ball in midair!|
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