We often confuse, "I'm Sorry" with, "I apologize." At best, "I'm Sorry" communicates regret or sympathy, It's not an apology.
• Saying, "I'm sorry it did not turn out the way you wanted" conveys a sense of regret.
• Saying, "I'm sorry for your loss. communicates sympathy.
• It is inauthentic to declare, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Can't you see how sorry I am?" expecting to be forgiven or implying that an apology has been made. It hasn't.
Saying, "I'm sorry" simply won't get you where you want to go.
Effective apologies have eight elements:
1. Acknowledging behaviors that hurt us. “Not keeping my promises, disrespecting your feelings."
2. Showing awareness: How the behavior made them feel. "Leaving you angry and frustrated."
3. Showing awareness, how the behavior impacted the relationship “Leaving us alienated and struggling.”
4. Accepting responsibility, "I take responsibility for my behavior."
5. Asking to be forgiven, "Please forgive me."
6. Promising new behavior. "From now on I will take a time out and come back ready to talk and listen.”
7. Add teamwork: "And if I forget or fall into old patterns please give me a sign. I will take a time out, calm down and come back ready to talk and listen.
8. Completing the apology, the partner says, "I accept." Or tweaks the words of the apology to make them stronger.
This kind of apology changes lives in a way, "I'm sorry" never will. Apologize.