Help with Writing a Letter of Apology

Posted by admin on November 2, 2007 in Uncategorized |

Do you know the absolute best way to have the last word? Apologize.Help with writing a letter of apology is often needed because saying, “I’m sorry” is sometimes so hard to do. The message is simple, the writing complex. Well, we’re here to help. Writing a letter of apology is often easiest when you simply tell the honest truth of how you feel, why you reacted (or didn’t react) the way that was expected, what conclusions you have drawn, how you plan to change (or not change), that you have reflected on what has happened, and that you feel that an apology is in order.Keep in mind that an apology is an explanation as to what went wrong and how things will go differently in the future. It is an open assessment that should lead you and the recipient to a better understanding should a similar situation arise in the future.Breath deep several times before writing to remove some of the emotion that may still be lingering.A sample apology might be:

Sarah,I’ve had a bit of time to think about what happened this morning, and I feel that an apology is in order. Often times when we discuss what is best for our children I get very emotional. I love them more than life itself, and to think that anything other than what I consider best may also work too causes a bit of panic inside. I’m sorry I didn’t listen more to your point of view, because you (as usual) made very valid points on why your solution could work. I apologize, and I’m ready to sit down and continue our discussion with an open mind and a sincere heart. In the end, what’s best for them will also prove to be what’s best for us.Dave

Your first bit of help with writing a letter of apology is to break this apology down.Tell the honest truth of how you feelWe are all human, and as such we have feelings that often times take over our common sense. At the root of almost every reaction, is an emotion that led us to action. So, identify the emotion and your actions will be better explained.”I fear losing someone so close to me…””I remembered how I felt the last time…””I wondered what life would be like if…””Sometimes my emotions get in the way, and fear sets in”Tell the honest truth on what caused the action (or inaction). It sometimes takes a while to get to the source, but finding the cause will lead to a true apology.Explain why you reacted (or didn’t react) the way that was expectedLife is like a balancing act at times. Over-react and you’re considered aggressive; refuse to react and you’re called passive. Sometimes the worst thing we can do is nothing at all. How do we know what the “perfect” reaction is? Time and wisdom is the only advice we can give on that. For now, let’s continue to help with writing this letter of apology by explaining why you reacted, or didn’t react the way that was expected.Great starts might be:”When I was a child, my friends called me X, when I heard you say it…””I saw you walking away and didn’t want to lose what we had…””I wanted to say something, but couldn’t find the right words to say”The truth will go a long way.Explain what conclusions you have drawnMost of the time identifying, and then admitting that you could have (and should have) reacted differently is enough to get the recipient listening. Some good starts are:”After thinking about it, I should have said…””Now that you’re gone, I know that….””I know that I can’t, but if I could turn back time, I would…”Explain how you plan to change (or not change)There are times when we react in a way that is understandable to us, but not to others. Apologies are simply explanations of these actions, with a purpose of bringing understanding between you and the recipient. There are some reactions that are justified, but that are not in line with what others expect.As you mature you may find that these reactions are not appropriate any longer. Take for example a child who throws a temper tantrum. This child at some point learns that tossing themselves on the floor, kicking and screaming doesn’t work. If they tried this at age 12, the reactions from others would be undesirable. How about we try this:”I never should have X, but I didn’t think of how it would make you feel””After looking at this from your point of view, I see how awful my actions were.””What I did was uncalled for in every way. I am embarassed by my actions”.On the other hand, you may (based on your understanding) still feel that you reacted properly. One way to help with writing a letter of apology is to realize that apologies are not always to say, “I was wrong”, they are sometimes to say, “I apologize that your feelings were hurt by my actions”. It’s not a twist on words, it’s honesty brought to light.Some examples are:”I apologize for ever hurting you. However, I cannot apologize for protecting my children’s well-being.””I know that you wanted more for me, but X makes me truly happy. I hope you understand that.””Now that I know how this makes you feel, I will try to be more sensitive with my words.”and finally that you feel that an apology is in orderThis part seals the deal. Just apologize!Samples are:”I’m so sorry that I made you feel this way.””I never meant to cause you this pain. I apologize.””I can’t take it back, but I can make sure it never happens this way again. I’m sorry.””I know that ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t fix everything, but in this case the apology is sincerely from me to you with love”.”I’m sorry.”We sincerely hope that this help with writing a letter of apology makes the road a bit easier for you. Feel free to post comments if it got you through your tough situation. Take care and good luck.Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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