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Do You Say Sorry Just to Get Yourself Out of a Pickle? New Way to Apologize

Before moving to Boulder, CO, I was a Waldorf kindergarten teacher in Alice Spring, Australia for two years. One of the things I had to help the children learn was to take responsibility when they hurt another child with their words or physically.

They had to apologize to them.

They had to sit with their friend until they stopped crying and get them an ice pack if they were hurt. Sometimes they would hold hands. When the child was feeling better, then they could both go off and play again.
It was a beautiful way for the child to realize on a deeper level that they had caused some harm to another and to begin taking responsibility for their actions. As teachers, it was the hope that they wouldn’t repeat their actions.

There were many repeats of sorrys, ice-packs, and hand-holding! Practice makes perfect!

Realization of Your Wrong Doing
Here’s an adult invitation for a new way to apologize. When you say sorry to someone for messing up or hurting them, ask yourself to go a bit deeper. Saying sorry can mean nothing, just empty words to get out of whatever pickle you are in.
However, sharing with the other/s what exactly you are sorry for, where you realize you messed up, and to take full responsibility. For example:
-I’m sorry I broke your mug. I realize I was rushing, not paying attention and a broken mug is the result.
-I’m sorry I spoke to you with such unkind words. I was in a pissy mood all day and I took it out on you. I realize that wasn’t kind. It had nothing to do with you.
-I’m sorry I lied. I realize I wasn’t in integrity by saying that to you.

Home Play

You can practice doing this, model this, and encourage your family members and friends to practice the same thing.

It’s very powerful and allows one to take more responsibility and awareness of one’s mistakes.

This is not about shaming. We all make mistakes, mess up. This is about ownership of them and really showing the other/s what realization and growth you have gathered from this experience so you don’t repeat it!

It takes vulnerability to do this but as we all know, vulnerability is truly a powerhouse of amazingness, despite how scary it can be in the moment.

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