So, you screwed up. (Now, how to apologize)

So you messed up

Saying “I’m sorry” is seldom pleasant or easy, so if you’re going to do it at all, let’s make it count!

An important part of apologizing is learning not to make excuses.  Twitter_logo_blue

We can get scared and do or say something hurtful,


or insensitive.

And, rather than facing the incident head on with a sincere apology or checking in with our hearts to realize we did nothing wrong and feel no need to apologize, we get can get angry.

Sometimes we get defensive about what we feel guilty about. 

We make a whole lot of noise because we feel bad about hurting someone’s feelings and avoid taking the time to get quiet and figure out how we really feel. We are deeply afraid of hearing the tiny voice inside us whispering that we screwed up.

Shame and guilt are challenging. They can paralyze and motivate, and transcending them means making a choice to move forward. I can remember many occasions of experiencing guilt and shame and not moving. Apologizing can be hard to do without digging a deeper hole. It’s also scary, and that’s why we avoid the pain. We want so badly to tell our story, but the thing is –everyone has a story. We all have our version of what happened and how we participated.

Unraveling feelings from facts is precarious work, and at the end of the day you’re responsible for it all anyway.

Excuses merely deflect responsibility and offer zero healing. So next time you’re tempted to plead your case, lie a hand on your heart, check in with that inner barometer and listen to the truth. If an apology is called for courageously, offer one (minus the excuses); the knowledge that one is heard and valued has incredible healing power.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


  1. This is SO true!! Apologizing can be incredibly difficult and daunting but I always feel better when I confront the issue directly. Sometimes this takes longer than I like to admit : ) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this! It can be so hard for me to own when I make mistakes or drop the ball, but I have found that when I am honest with people they are really awesome and empathetic. Honesty is definitely the best solution 🙂

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