Do you have trouble admitting a mistake and apologizing? I had that problem for many years. Here is why it was hard for me:
- First off, I didn’t think I made mistakes, so there was no reason to apologize. I grew up believing that mistakes were bad and to be avoided at all costs. I viewed myself as needing to look perfect, so I had no need for apologizing.
- I had an oversized ego which got in my way of apologizing. It was humiliating to apologize. I believed that apologizing was a sign of weakness.
- I didn’t know what to say when apologizing. Apologizing was not modeled for me.
- My wife would conveniently tell me when I needed to apologize. So when she would say “You need to apologize”, I would dutifully apologize because I was told to do so. And, I knew that things would not improve until I did apologize.
In an effort to become more emotionally intelligent and mature, what can we do to learn to apologize?
- Recognize that you don’t have to be perfect. And, BTW, you (and I) aren’t perfect.
- Right size your ego. Apologizing is an adult activity and shows emotional awareness and connection.
- Learn how to apologize. A sincere “I’m Sorry” is often all that is needed. Sometimes, however, more is needed.
- Don’t wait for your partner to cue you in that you should apologize. Recognize when you have made a mistake and take responsibility for your words and actions.
An added benefit: you will be modeling healthy behavior to your kids so they learn how to be respectful and apologize.