- Posted February 19, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
4 Effective Ways To Say Your Sorry
Conflict. Strife. Tension. In love, most individuals want to avoid all the negative feelings associated with disagreements and all out arguments.
When tension arises, are you:
The person who’s quick to apologize, wanting to sweep everything under the rug so the tension goes away?
The one who tends to hold that hurt for a while, allowing the offensive words to gain a life of their own?
Most of us identify with one approach or the other when arguments happen in love. However, neither response leads to a true reconciliation that enhances the relationship, leading to a better understanding of each other.
The good news is there a method to apologizing that will not only allow your words to be heard, but also lead to emotional healing. The key is to learn how to ask for forgiveness that conveys the apology in the right way so your words are heard by your significant other.
Asking for forgiveness is a lifestyle choice because a sincere apology carries with it the motivation to turn from the former way which caused the conflict and go in another direction. The trust in your relationship grows when you demonstrate change in your actions and behaviors.
As a relationship coach, I have advised individuals to remember that an overreaction to a comment or situation signals something beneath the surface. What happened in the current moment was the trigger to the reaction. You just put your finger on an emotional button.
Does this exchange sound familiar?
You’re engaged in some teasing banter with your loved one that goes a bit too far. You know just as the offending comment came out of your mouth, you said the wrong thing and a blow up was about to take place.
Perhaps this type of episode?
During a pleasant evening together you say something that triggers an eruption from your loved one. You are so surprised that all you can say is “I’m sorry,” which your sweetheart can’t hear in the heat of the moment. You don’t know what you need to be sorry about, but know it was the wrong thing to say.
Those episodes can shake the relationship emotionally, but can be ideal opportunities to achieve closeness if you learn how to say, “I’m Sorry” the right way. Here’s my advice on how you can communicate a successful apology:
Lose the defensive position. Don’t underplay the other person’s feelings and try to wiggle out of the conflict. Just because what you said wouldn’t hurt you, those memories and emotions are very real and deserves your compassion.
Own your actions and words. Include in your apology the words, “I am sorry that my (behavior/comment/tone of voice, etc.) hurt you. Period. Do not add the “but” disclaimer as it cancels out the apology. Communicate your understanding of what caused the distress and admit you are remorseful.
Ask for forgiveness: It’s hard to ask for forgiveness when you believe you have not done anything wrong, however that approach communicates a lack of respect for the other person’s feelings. It’s just not your emotional hot button. Relationships have a way of balancing out when you practice love and compassion over the need to win every battle.
Don’t panic: The eruption may need a cooling off period before your relationship gets back to normal. This blimp does not automatically mean you are not loved. Sometimes you may need to write out what you said so the apology can sink in.
No one likes tension in relationships, however rushing the process of working through the trial can lead to resentment. Glossing over blowups, coughing up an apology out of obligation and not looking at the deeper meaning behind the argument can easily lead to emotional separation.
Forgiveness is not acceptance of bad behavior, but the decision of not holding the hurt that resulted from that action against the other person. Without forgiveness, bitterness will take root in your heart and from that point, it can be a very sharp downward spiral to a hardened heart.
As a relationship coach, I talk to many people who say they are jaded in love and make vows never to allow other person hurt them again. Instead of implementing doable steps toward reconciliation and lasting forgiveness they choose to hold a grudge. Society will tell you that forgiveness is not that simple or even possible - and without Jesus in your life, that is true. The good news? With Him you can experience the comfort He generously gives in those moments of hurt, giving you the inner strength to take that pain and make it an opportunity to deepen the connection in your relationship. It can be the start of a new level of intimacy, not the end of the relationship.
Conflicts are experiences couples can use to learn more about each other’s emotional triggers. By working through these challenges, you can have the harmony you desire. Your willingness to embrace a teachable attitude will enrich your relationship and lead to a more fulfilling commitment.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit www.rightrelationshipstv.com for articles, exercises, coaching options and recent books.