So, as I was saying....

shadeshaman's picture

What is an apology, after all?

Why do we apologize?
Why don't we?

Here's a little article that addresses different kinds of apologies, amongst other things:

And here's one that talks about three necessary steps in an apology:

And another one with links to successful apologies:

What I'm not able to find, at least not at this moment, are any articles on what it feels like to be the recipient of a sincere apology.
In my original post, I thought about what it would be like to receive an apology for an especially egregious wrong. I just picked one out of my hat. I think that part of what makes it hard for me to imagine receiving a sincere apology is how I was treated so very badly as a kid, and never got an apology for any of it.
So, maybe I need to look at a smaller scenario.

(maybe not this small),5815/

So...that's what I'm going to think about. What does it feel like to receive a sincere apology, a small-ish one, if need be!


shadeshaman's picture

My kids are pretty awesome.
I like to think about social constructs in terms of biology. I don't personally believe in a division between the body and the soul (if there is one). We are our bodies, and most of our social mores and norms come from a place of fulfilling a biological need. So, when I was thinking about what it's like to receive a sincere apology, I kept having the body feeling of relief. But, I wondered how could this be? A word, "Sorry" causes a biological response? Well, in reading the articles I linked to in the main post here, I saw some stuff about body language, expression, inflection and so on. And I got to thinking about relief and relaxing...and babies. If you want a baby to relax, a good place to start is first, be where they are. They are upset, acknowledge it. And then model relaxation to them. BE calm, BE soothing/soothed, SLOW DOWN your own breathing and racing thoughts. Babies, and other humans, are a highly imitative species; babies will tend follow suit to whatever adults are doing.
This doesn't stop when we are no longer babies. We all imitate each other. A classic sales technique is to mimic or match the emotional state of the customer, and then sorta lead them into feeling safe and relaxed...and then make your pitch or guide them to the product you want them to buy.
And a sincere apology is about...being empathetic. You've done something crappy to someone, they call you on it, you empathize with them--you match their feeling, you acknowledge them where they are--and then you lead them to a place of relief and relaxation. It could be a simple "sorry", as in the Onion article, or it could be more complex, depending on the circumstances. But the person who is apologizing has to empathize with the upset person.
Back to my kids. I have not told them anything about what I've been thinking/blogging about, but I'll be a monkey's uncle if T-Dizzle didn't wander into my room this morning and start singing this song:

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius"--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle