Apologizing can be difficult.

Yet, it is one of the most important relationships skills we can master.


Because the people we love are more important than being right.

Or at least they should be.

The problem with the majority of apologies?

They are too complex and lack sincerity and simplicity.

The complexity derives from our own individual egos. We take being wrong or hurting another individual personally. And we often feel the need to bring in other factors to justify our behavior.

We want to maintain control and to defend ourselves.

In other words, we protect ourselves first and apologize second. 

We say we are sorry with disclaimers… 

“I’m sorry BUT I did that BECAUSE of this.”

“I’m sorry BUT I did that BECAUSE YOU did this.”


“I’m sorry BUT…….

Disclaimers are an apology with a ‘but’ in it. It’s an I’m sorry with some portion of blame assigned to the person who was hurt. It’s a half-sorry. I will apologize if you accept your portion of responsibility for what happened.

Of course, there are times where both people are to blame for unpleasantness. 

However, this can’t be a trend in the atonement of an individual. Because there are many times as people we have to take sole individual responsibility for our own behavior.

If disclaimers aren’t used deflection is often another strategy.

“I’m sorry but YOU should have known I would react that way.”

‘I did it that but YOU started it.”

Deflection is an individual’s way of turning the bad behavior back around and onto the person, they hurt. It turns the entire apology and responsibility in the hands of the hurt individual. Had they not behaved a certain way it would not have brought out the bad behavior in the apologizer.

Last but not least, rounding out the flawed apology trio would be dirty laundry.

The ugliest of them all it delves into all past wrongs while attempting to resolve conflict.

It makes the past the present.

Every little hurt or bad behavior which was not properly addressed earlier.

All people are human so there is no way to completely eradicate hurting others.

Yet,  there is a way to atone for the pain we cause and lessen long-term resentments left by unresolved conflict.

It requires self-reflection and personal growth.

The 3 Things Necessary for a True Apology


It takes great confidence to be wrong.

It requires a substantial feeling of personal self-worth to recognize the value of others.

This individual who I care about is more important than maintaining control and being right.

A lot of people appear confident because they are successful or extroverts or a variety of other qualities which project a great appearance of self-esteem.

However, true core confidence is tied to the following absence of ego which allows a maturity to evolve. The world gets bigger and less personal and more emotionally evolved.

Emotional evolution paves the way to improved apologies.

The Absence of Ego aka Maturity

It takes maturity to be absent of ego.

In fact, it’s incredibly liberating to realize not everything needs to be taken personally.

We will all hurt others from time to time. We are human. A simple I’m sorry will be necessary. No disclaimers and no deflection. It’s actually not as difficult to do once the personal ego is taken out of it.

When we grow up we realize it’s no longer threatening to be wrong but rather a sign of learning to take responsibility for our own actions.

Aka, you can’t bark at people because you’re tired, hungry or stressed. You need to grow up and use your words and if you don’t you need to be overtly and sincerely sorry for transferring your mood to another.

You need to be self-aware.

Did I do or say or behave in a manner which would hurt another?

Respect and Great Communication

It takes work to learn respect and great communication skills.

A book won’t do it though it’s better than nothing at all.

Real respect and communication skills are best taught by a professional family and marriage counselor or classes.

It’s difficult to grasp respect.

Many believe they possess it and don’t.

True respect is feeling comfortable enough and mature enough in your own skin to allow others to be exactly who they are. This means allowing them to have differing values, thoughts, and opinions. It also means allowing them to have their own feelings. And not talking them out of their pain or hurt because it is a pain we do not agree with.

It means acknowledging a person may feel upset by something which does not upset us and therefore, deserves an apology. 


The three aspects of a true apology are intricate and one can’t happen without the other.

To be absent of ego and mature you must also be confident and learn true respect and communication. 

Together this can pave the way for improved love and relationships.

At face value, it seems it would only benefit the ones we love. In reality, these three fundamental elements of a sincere egoless apology can also benefit us.

When we stop feeling threatened and the need to defend ourselves and be in control we are happier.

It’s far less emotionally exhausting.

There’s no longer anything to lose.

We feel good enough about ourselves and our present enough to remember…

The people we love are more important than being right.


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E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com

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