Sir Elton put it right so make years ago; sorry, indeed, seems to be the hardest word. Whether it’s our fault or someone else’s, we initially find it hard to admit we were wrong and afterwards  apologize for our behavior. You either want to call it human pride or stubbornness, in general, people prefer to mostly go silent than be the ones who make this difficult first move towards reconciliation.

You shouldn’t trouble yourselves with who started the argument. Don’t pay attention to who is right and who is wrong. It is totally humane and normal to get angry and upset over personal problems, life’s difficulties, or with family and friends. Anger is a human emotion and like all other emotions and feelings it should be acknowledged and understood.

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However, sometimes we get frustrated with our children or are inpatient with friends due to factors that have nothing to do with either one of these two groups.Think about it; how many times have you shouted at your children only because you just had an argument with your spouse or because you were late for work? Perhaps you had a full blown fight with your best friend and you overreacted over a trivial matter that, in fact, she was not to blame for.

Sometimes we realize that probably the mistake was our own. But how do we apologize? It is so hard to own up to our mistakes and be the ones who have to say ‘am sorry’. Whether you don’t know how to apologize or you can’t bring yourself to do it, follow these steps and see if it becomes a bit easier for you to do so.

Give yourself some space. You need space and time from the situation. You might be feeling angry or ashamed, or both. Sleep on it for a day or two and wait until you feel calmer and more relaxed. When you have cooled off a bit, take a look at what happened. Were the circumstances as such that ‘helped’ towards the way you reacted? Do others share some of that blame? After answering these questions, assess your behaviour at the time. How could you have behaved differently? Was there an easier way around it?

Listen to your inner voice. We all have one. Some of us choose to ignore it. Some others can’t even hear it because their shouting is louder. Deep down you know what the right thing to do is. Being too stubborn or arrogant is only a sign of emotional immaturity.

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Just come out with it. There will never be the right time. You will never feel so good and so relaxed in doing it. After you evaluate the situation and have decided that you should probably apologize for the way you reacted, just humble yourself and say that you are sorry. You might feel awkward at first and uncomfortable. You might feel like you showing weakness and admitting defeat. On the contrary, the people who do admit their mistakes and apologize for them are the ones with the most self awareness.

Make it a habit. “The more you train yourself to swallow your pride, be vulnerable, and give a genuine apology when appropriate, the easier it will get. You are taking the “learning experience” approach. You’re apologizing and learning. Just do it!” (Source: Dumb Little Man)

When you finally master the skill of apologizing when needed, you will surely feel better about yourself. You will, in time, be able to identify the triggers that cause your temper to spiral out of control and you will learn alternative ways to deal with it or prevent a situation for reaching that stage.

When was the last time you had to say ‘am sorry’ ? How did you feel afterwards? How do you feel when others apologize to you? We would love to hear your story!  

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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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