Renowned psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Harriet Lerner sheds light on the essential ingredients of a true apology. She has been studying apologies for more than two decades, namely, why some people won’t give them. Now Dr. Lerner offers compelling stories and solid theory that demonstrates the transformative power of making amends in her latest book, Why Won’t You Apologize? Let me leave you with these essential ingredients of a true apology by Dr. Harriet Lerner now.
Nine Essential Ingredients of a True Apology
1. Does not include the word “but”
2. Keeps the focus on your actions and not on the other person’s response
3. Includes an offer of reparation or restitution that fits the situation
4. Does not over do
5. Doesn’t get caught up in who’s more to blame or who started it
6. Requires that you do your best to avoid a repeat performance
7. Should not serve to silence
8. Shouldn’t be offered to make you feel better if it risks making the hurt party feel worse
9. Does not ask the hurt party to do anything, not even to forgive
“If only our passion to understand the other person were as great as our passion to be understood. Were this so, all of our apologies would be truly meaningful and healing.”
– Dr. Harriet Lerner, Why Won’t You Apologize?
Some of these essential ingredients of a true apology might be self-explanatory on their own and some definitely require much thinking through. Fret not, Brené Brown and Dr. Harriet Lerner have created a special two-episode podcast, “I’m Sorry: How To Apologize & Why It Matters,” based on a course that they did together on the book, “Why Won’t You Apologize?.” I believe that you would gain valuable insights listening to the podcast. Tune in to “I’m Sorry: How to Apologize & Why It Matters” Now.