This is the caption on a poster of the spiritual teacher, Swami Satchitdananda who is pictured wearing a loincloth while crouching on a surfboard riding the ocean waves. It’s a profound reminder that no matter how hard we try, sometimes we will make mistakes. Life brings us trouble at times, and we inadvertently make trouble for ourselves. It can’t be helped. “Learning to surf” is a metaphor for becoming adept at handling life’s difficulties and successfully repairing errors or mistakes that we may have made.
Since we are all (no exceptions) mistake-prone, to varying degrees, it behooves us to become adept in the art of making effective repairs and corrections. We should, of course, by all means make our best effort to do it “right” the first time, but being human, our best efforts won’t always prevent us from having moments or days when we wish that we could do that one over again. Since we can’t always do “do-overs,” the next best thing is to correct our mistakes, and the best way to start this process is with an apology.
Making an effective apology is both an art and a science. It requires the fulfillment of a number of conditions that must be met in order for both parties to feel satisfied with the outcome. The first thing to keep in mind is exactly that. That is, that both parties must feel complete and satisfied with the outcome in order for things to get back on track after the breakdown.
There are a number of components that increase the likelihood that an apology will be effective. These conditions and guidelines apply to all relationships. We have listed a few of them here.
When we have confidence that harm caused to the relationship through unskillful choices can be fully healed, we are motivated to use the methods that we know work to keep our relationship in the best possible condition. The belief that the pre-break trust, harmony, and love can be fully restored, and perhaps even become more than it was prior to the breakdown, prompts us to hold a standard of excellence. And then we strive to use every incident that occurs in the partnership to become stronger at the broken places. There is surely some work involved in the process at becoming adept at repair, but the rewards of a close, delightful, trusting relationship are well worth the effort!
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” –Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate