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?

  1. Recognize that you don’t have to be perfect. And, BTW, you (and I) aren’t perfect.
  2. Right size your ego. Apologizing is an adult activity and shows emotional awareness and connection.
  3. Learn how to apologize. A sincere “I’m Sorry” is often all that is needed. Sometimes, however, more is needed.
  4. 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.