September 14, 2018

Why It’s Important to Apologize Now and How to Do It

When people are angry with each other, they often wait with extreme stubbornness for the other person to apologize first. Days, weeks, months and even years can go by and still no one apologizes. Many times, the subject of the argument is forgotten, yet the two parties still refuse to speak. For these people, apologizing feels like an admission that they are inadequate or that there is something inherently wrong with them. They may also mistakenly have the internal belief that offering the first apology after an argument is an admission of guilt and responsibility for the entirety of a conflict that involved wrongs on the part of both parties. They think an apology from them will allow the other person to take no responsibility for their own part in the conflict. Then there are the times when an apology seems to call added attention to a mistake that may have gone unnoticed before the apology was offered.  In any case, under all circumstances, a well-delivered, appropriately sincere apology will generally avoid all the above-named issues and will serve to usher in a resolution, reaffirm shared values, and restore positive feelings in the damaged relationship.

In fact, the following are 8 excellent reasons to say “I’m sorry” 

1. Apologizing builds respect. Relationships are built on respect and saying “I’m sorry” shows that you respect the other person’s feelings.

2. Apologizing helps you move on. We all make mistakes. Harboring guilt and anger isn’t good for your physical or mental health. Acknowledging your own mistakes helps you grow—and move on.

3. Apologizing provides a strong foundation. Sometimes foundations crack and need repairing. Ignoring the cracks only makes them bigger—and the foundation weaker. However, moving past problems in a healthy manner can strengthen your relationships.

4. It becomes easier. Saying “I’m sorry” is just like any other learned skill. It becomes more comfortable and familiar the more you practice it; as you get better at it, your health improves.

5. It demonstrates Integrity. Even if you don’t apologize, it doesn’t make your mistake disappear. Now your words or actions are just “an elephant in the room”. Owning your mistakes only makes you a better person—and it helps others trust you.

6. Remember to be sincere. Don’t apologize just to get past an issue. No one appreciates this. When you apologize be frank and use “I” statements. “I’m sorry I (said or did) “blah blah” is better than “I’m sorry your feelings got hurt”.

7. Apologizing brings relief. Say “I’m sorry” for you as much as for others. You will feel better. Even if your apology falls on deaf ears, you’ll know you did the right thing—and sometimes that’s all that counts.

8. Remember to set an example for kids. Saying “I’m sorry” to your children or in front of your children shows them how to make mistakes and deal with them appropriately. Need I say more?

Saying “I’m sorry” is a learned behavior and response, and it takes time and practice just like everything else. Saying “I’m sorry” can be difficult and if you are not accustomed to apologizing, it can take practice to get it right.  Start practicing now, it will improve your life and empower you.  Being able to apologize in a heartfelt manner and showing empathy and compassion for the people around you, will bolster your path to be the best “you” that you can be. 

Here are some tips on how to apologize appropriately.  

Step 1: Express Remorse

Every apology needs to start with two magic words: "I'm sorry," or "I apologize." This is essential because these words express remorse over your actions.  Your words need to be sincere and authentic. Be honest with yourself, and with the other person, about why you want to apologize. Never make an apology when you have ulterior motives, or if you see it as the means to an end.  Timeliness is also important here. Apologize as soon as you realize that you've wronged someone else.

Step 2: Admit Responsibility:

Admit responsibility for your actions or behavior, and acknowledge what you did.  It is important to empathize with the person you wronged and demonstrate that you understand how you made them feel.  Don't make assumptions – instead, simply try to put yourself in that person's shoes and imagine how he/she felt.

Step 3: Make Amends

When you make amends, you act to make the situation right.  Here are two examples:

"If there's anything that I can do to make this up to you, please just tell me."

"I plan to repair/replace or otherwise prevent this from happening again by…”

Think carefully about this step. Token gestures or empty promises will do more harm than good. Because you feel guilty, you might also be tempted to give more than what's appropriate – so be proportionate in what you offer when making amends.

Step 4: Promise to do your best to see that it won’t happen again.

Your last step is to explain that you will sincerely try not to repeat the action or behavior. This step is important because you reassure the other person that you're going to change your behavior. This helps you rebuild trust and repair the relationship. Make sure that you honor this commitment in the days or weeks to come – if you promise to change your behavior, but don't follow through, others will question your reputation and your trustworthiness. A good apology will communicate three things: regret, responsibility, and remedy.  Apologizing for a mistake might seem difficult, but it will help you repair and improve your relationships with others

In addition to the four steps above, keep the following general rule in mind when you apologize. Don’t offer excuses.  During an apology, many people are tempted to explain their actions. This can be helpful, but explanations can often serve as excuses, and these can weaken your apology. Don't shift part of the blame onto someone or something else to reduce responsibility.

From The Desk of Julie Lingenfelter

Counseling and Enrichment Center - O'Neill, Norfolk, Verdigre, Sioux City, Kearney, Northeast Nebraska

Hello - today's blog is about why it is so important to apologize to others when a "wrong" has been committed.  Read on for some great advice on how to apologize sincerely and successfully.  


July 2018

The Mind/Body Pain Experience
When most people think about anxiety or depression, they think about what happens in the mind. The excessive worry and unsurmountable fears, rather than what happens in the body. Sometimes people suffering with anxiety go straight to a mental health therapist, others visit a physician’s office first complaining of chronic abdominal pain, headaches, or insomnia.  Caring for the mind is just as important as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.

While no one thinks twice about getting butterflies in the stomach before going on stage or the ache in your chest if your crush throws you a smile, when you start talking about emotions causing physical pain, people look at you like you’re talking about voodoo. Yet, there’s no doubt that emotions, both good and bad, have huge impacts on the body and can literally cause you physical pain.

Psychogenic pain, sometimes called psychalgia, is real pain caused by emotional factors. Most often this pain manifests in headaches, back pain or stomach issues, such as cramping, diarrhea, and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). According to studies done on the brain, the human brain has no way to differentiate between pain caused by physical ailments and those caused by emotional. Although most people have experienced this kind of pain in mild forms, the idea of psychogenic pain is still stigmatized and not considered real pain by many people.  By learning about psychalgia, you can become your own health hero and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you when it comes to your physical and emotional well-being.

If you’re hesitant to believe that emotions can cause physical pain, consider these ages-old sayings.

1.) That child is a pain in the neck.

2.) She’s suffering from heartache.

3.) He was so mad, he saw red.

4.) That was gut-wrenching.

5.) I was so nervous, I was sick to my stomach.

6.) I’ve got too much on my shoulders right now to take on another project.

No matter where you hurt on your body, the pain is actually occurring in the brain. Nerve signals run back and forth from across the body, and once the brain receives a signal that there has been tissue damage, a neurological process occurs that makes you feel pain. It makes sense that other stimuli, such as stress, sadness or anger, can also cause the brain to make a similar neurological response. For those who experience chronic pain, which is pain that lasts long after the body has healed, chances are emotional issues may cause it.

While this may sound new age, it’s old medical philosophy. Ancient Chinese medicine had no doubt that emotions interfered with the body and its functions. Even modern medicine agrees, anxiety can slow the body’s ability to heal, increase a person’s risk of heart disease and obesity. Stress and other emotions may also have something to do with the development of Type 2 diabetes.

If you are experiencing physical pain but don’t know the cause, step back and examine your mental and emotional health. Physical symptoms of emotional pain are the body’s way of reminding you that you have issues that need to be dealt with.

Here are a few tips for dealing with anxiety, depression or other forms of Psychalgia.

1.) Learn relaxation techniques and use them regularly

2.) Practice yoga

3.) Find forgiveness

4.) Be in the present

5.) Practice mindfulness