The power of apologizing

The power of apologizing
There is something to be said for learning the art of apologizing. It's not something that we are usually taught with positive reinforcement. In fact, more than likely you were taught to apologize under duress - and of course you were never rewarded for doing so.

Think back to childhood. Were you ever made to apologize? And if so - did you want to? Did you actually feel guilty for whatever it is that you did? But more than that - if you did sincerely apologize to whomever, how did it make the other person feel? Probably, very satisfied.

The theory of apologizing is greater than you can imagine. Studies show that if doctors apologized to their patients when they have made a medical error, there would be a lower rate of medical malpractice.

*Jeanine had a good relationship with her OB-GYN. She trusted him and they were both quite cordial with each other. Jeanine's pregnancy was not at high-risk and she took very good care of herself. At delivery, she was in labor and pushing for well over 9 hours. She was tired and the baby was still stuck in the birth canal. Her doctor felt it was time to help things along by using the forceps and then forcibly pulled out. Jeanine's baby was finally born - but with an injured right arm due to the force of delivery.

Jeanine's doctor had only the best intentions for delivery. He was not in a rush to go somewhere. He wasn't overly fatigued. (She was his first delivery of the day) There are always risks when having a baby. But Jeanine and her husband were distraught. They were already calling lawyers and researching this type of injury when delivering. One thing they didn't count on was the sincere and emotional apology from their doctor. Once they heard him and saw his expression when he said it -- they knew that he was quite upset with what happened as well. Suddenly they realized that they were not the only people affected by what had happened. Their doctor acknowledged their pain and his part in it and that was good enough for them. They just knew next time they would choose another back-up plan if things got hairy during another delivery.

You can apply this message to all aspects of your life. Arguments with your spouse, parents, or other loved ones. Mistakes made on the job. Hurting someone's feelings. Road rage. The power of an apology is in the acknowledgment of your mistake, and the validation of the other person's feelings.

The power of an apology -- it's healing for everyone -- pass it on!

Recommended Resource:
The Power of Apology: Healing Steps to Transform All Your Relationships
by Beverly Engel, Beverly Engel

Lisa Angelettie is an author, counselor, & coach on mental health, relationship, and other life issues for women. You can also visit her at Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the mental health forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful mental health resources. Subscribe below.

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