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Power of Apology

 A sincere apology is one of the most powerful tools to . . .

   bring peace,
   stop arguments,
   and restore broken relationships.
It can bring solace and comfort to the offended, relief to the wrongdoer, and healing to their relationship.  A genuine, effective apology is an act of honesty, humility, and generosity.   It is a sign of courage, not weakness.

Some things can only be repaired by an apology—and nothing else. On the other hand, an apology may not be effective unless accompanied by some sort of compensation, restitution, reimbursement, favor, or gift.

Bad Apologies

Bad apologies are usually patronizing, staged, insincere, or generalized, and do not take responsibility.  Bad apologies can strain relationships and cause bitterness to remain.


Roadblocks to Apologizing

Common causes for failure to apologize are pride and fear of shame and the belief that apologizing is a sign of weakness and admission of guilt.


The Right Way to Apologize

    -- Accept responsibility for the specific wrong or injury to someone else. Do not excuse yourself for what you did.
    -- Express genuine regret for the wrongdoing. It must be done with feeling.
    -- Make reparation for damage when words might not be enough. Reparation or restitution is not always possible, because sometimes nothing can right some wrongs; but, words may not be enough to make an effective apology, so at a minimum, an offer to repair the damage nearly always needs to be made to make an apology genuine.
    -- Make it timely.  Apologizing too late or too soon can make it less effective. Sooner is usually better than later.

    From a religious point of view, apologies are a form of repentance. Notice that the key steps in a good apology—accepting responsibility, regret, reparation—are equivalent to confession, remorse (broken heart and contrite spirit), and restitution in religious literature.