I'm really sorry that I was a jerk, but you know what you did forced me to act that way, and in the future if you don't act like that, I won't either.
Have you ever received an apology like this? You know the one that starts with "I'm sorry" and ends with minimizing and justifying the actions that just occurred.
Yup, that one...the good ol' apologizing while justifying. The one that really does nothing but make the situation worse. Ugh, it's the worst kind of "I'm sorry". If you ask me, it's really more of a criticism and blaming statement hidden in a faux apology.
So, how do we apologize without justifying?
I'll tell you this much, it's actually really hard. I know this because it's something I'm constantly working on as a wife and mother. The art of apologizing for being human and impatient and sometimes near-sighted with my words. The art of recognizing that I'm truly responsible for my choices and my behavior and no matter how irritated, sleep deprived or hangry (hungry + anger = poor choices) I may get, it's always my responsibility to manage my choices and actions.
And to be honest, there are time I don't want to be responsible for being human and imperfect. It's really so much easier to find reasons for why my mate or my kids drove me up the wall and "made" me stomp my feet and get snarky.
But the reality is, I am responsible; for both my actions and how I choose to handle it when my actions fall short of who I want to be in my relationships. It is in these moments after I've acted, that I believe my character is demonstrated. The moments when I become aware of how I behaved, how it may have affected those around me and then being humble enough to own up to it.
When we truly acknowledge our actions and apologize for what we said or did without any reasoning or justifying, then we have succeeded. We have tested the waters of vulnerability and won. We have allowed our humanness and imperfection to shine.
If you have not practiced apologizing without justifying or if you have fallen off the wagon of offering an honest apology for someone you have wronged, then I challenge you to start practicing this today.
Remember it takes practice and hard work to change these habits and sometimes counseling is the best place to start. I look forward to hearing from you if you're ready!
Also, staying tuned for the 7 Day Relationship Challenge starting August 1st, you can sign up today at http://bit.ly/7DayRelationshipChallenge
Take care and live well,
916.955.3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org