If you have wronged someone, it is incumbent on you to help them release themselves of the pain they may be feeling. A lot of it can come from your sincere apology. The apology is for them, not for you.
- Work from a place of true humility and remorse. It will come across in your words and body language. Your apology must be genuine for it to be accepted and help the other person move on.
- Apologize in the way that they want to receive your apology. (There are different ‘apology languages’.)
- Own up to what you did that made them so hurt. Acknowledge the hurt. Even if it wasn’t your intention, even if you don’t understand their hurt. Don’t offer excuses or try to minimize it. Say it in first person. “That was so thoughtless of me. I wish I had been more considerate of your feelings.” “I let you down when you needed me the most. I made a terrible mistake.”
- Find a way to make amends. “What can I do or say to make things right between us?”
- Resolve not to do it again. “I won’t take your feelings for granted in the future.”
- Ask for forgiveness. “I didn’t intend to hurt you, and now all I can do is ask for your forgiveness and try not to repeat my same mistake again.”
After you have apologized, give them the time and space to process. Accept that your apology may not be accepted right away.