Have you ever thought of apologizing as a spiritual practice? I do.
Apologizing is an innately spiritual practice it frees you and lifts a weight off your shoulders. Apologizing also shows caring and love for another person.
If you are in Recovery, making amends is a part of the spiritual process created to make space in your mind for peace and well being. We discussed apologizing this week in my Inner Peace Group, and everyone had very thoughtful responses and I really enjoyed everyone’s shares about how apologizing has been both powerful and challenging in their lives.
Here are a few initial Questions to help you begin to reflect on the art of the Apology:
Why do we Apologize?
What do I expect another person to do or say in a real apology?
How do I feel when people apologize to me?
How do I feel when I apologize to others?
Dr. Gary Chapman of the 5 Love Languages (Read the Post on Love Languages HERE) wrote another book about the 5 Languages of Apology. He believes that we all have our own language of apology that resonates within us. I agree, knowing your apology language and the language of those around you can be helpful in improving the relationships with the people you care about in your life.
I actually stumbled across Dr. Chapman’s apology language work when I was having an argument with my husband and he kept apologizing and I just could not hear it. It was over something silly that I wanted to resolve and I knew that he was genuinely apologetic, but I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around his apology. It occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t able to hear his apology and what he was trying to tell me. I actually looked up apology language and found out that my language is almost completely Expressing Regret and my husband had literally been trying all the other types of apologizing. It was really beneficial to be able to communicate what I needed so he could express himself in a way that I could hear, and it’s been immensely helpful in our relationship.
The Apology Languages Explained:
(Adapted from Mirabelle Mansel of Conscious Manager)
#A: Expressing Regret : “I am sorry”
This apology language seeks to express to the other person that you feel pain that with your words or behavior you hurt them deeply. If the person you are apologizing to has this language what they want to know is: “Do you understand how deeply your behavior has hurt me?” Anything less will seem empty to them. You need to say you are sorry and what specifically you are sorry for.
#B: Accepting Responsibility : “I was wrong”
This apology begins with the words “I was wrong” and goes on to explain what was wrong with your behavior. If the person you apologize to has this apology language they are waiting to hear you admit that your behavior was wrong. For them saying “I’m sorry” will never sound like an apology. They want you to accept responsibility for what you did or said and acknowledge that it was wrong.
#C: Making Restitution : “What can I do to make it right?”
This apology language seeks to “make it right.” If their primary language is making restitution, they want to know that you have a strong desire and effort to make amends. A genuine apology will be accompanied by the assurance that you still love your partner and have the desire to right the wrongdoings.
#D: Repentance : “I’ll try not to do that again”
This apology seeks to come up with a plan to keep the bad behavior from reoccurring. When this is the persons primary apology language, if your apology does not include a desire to change your behavior, you have not truly apologized. Whatever else you say, they do not see it as being sincere. In their minds if you are really apologizing, you will seek to change your behavior.
#E: Requesting Forgiveness : “Will you please forgive me?”
If requesting forgiveness is their primary apology language, then in their mind if you are sincere, you will ask them to forgive you. They want to know that you deeply understand that you have caused them pain and truly want to be forgiven and remove the barrier that the behavior has caused.