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Service: Tips on Apologizing

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Season of Service logo #30: Apologize This week's Season of Service challenge involves apologizing, which by definition is to acknowledge faults, shortcomings, failings, or offenses, with expression of regret by way of amends, or a formal written defense of something you believe in strongly. Someone named Lynn Johnston once said: "An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything." Rather than offer ideas for ways to apologize, I offer you 10 bite-size thoughts on how to apologize. These are gleaned from eHow, MomItForward tweeters, and personal experience:

10 Tips on Apologizing

  1. Trust your gut when deciding when to apologize, whether it be immediately after the offense or after a "cooling off"  period.
  2. Think about whether it would be most appropriate to apologize in person, by phone, or by email. Sometimes it might work best to make an initial conciliatory attempt by phone or email, then meet in person.
  3. Plan out what you want to say ahead of time.
  4. Express your regret about the issue without making excuses for your behavior. Avoid apologies that include phrases like "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings" or "I'm sorry you were hurt." Apologies like this appear insincere and place the blame on the hurt party.
  5. Take responsibility for your actions and don't expect hurt and anger to disappear immediately.
  6. Realize that sometimes you may need to apologize even if your actions or words were not meant to cause harm. It's important to be sensitive to other people's needs.
  7. Realize that it's possible to get stuck in "population me" even when all you're doing is managing your kids' busy schedules, cleaning your house, taking care of your family members, or doing your job. That doesn't make you selfish, but it can lessen your awareness of a complete strangers' (e.g., bank teller, check-out person) perspective.
  8. Consider that when people are under pressure, stressed, or don't feel great about themselves, sometimes they give into their weakness  and do things they shouldn't. We all make mistakes. Don't make excuses for your behavior to yourself or to the recipient of your wrongdoing, but do recognize what may have contributed to it so that you can understand and prevent future problems.
  9. If someone owes you an apology, don't wait on pins and needs for it. This is obviously much easier said than done, but you will be much happier for it. Patience and forgiveness allow you to accept the act as wrong even while you forgive the wrongdoer.
  10. Never follow an apology with a "but...". From @jeanettg

How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • What other tips on or stories about apologizing do you have?
  • How has apologizing made a meaningful difference for you this week?
  • How have others apologized to you this week and what difference has that made in your life?

How Else Can You Make a Difference This Season?

Make a meaningful difference this season by taking the Season of Service (SOS) Challenge. Here's how you can participate:

  • Commit to do one act of kindness/service based on the week's challenge.
  • Leave a comment with ideas relating to the week's challenge as well as your experience(s) performing it.
  • Enter to win each week's giveaway. Check out this week's prizes from Allison Fishman, Playtex, and George Foreman Grills.
  • Join #gno this Monday (sponsored by George Foreman Grills) and Tuesday (sponsored by Lunchables with Fruit) on Twitter to connect with other Mom It Forward moms about the challenge.
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