Take the #1 Apology Challenge!

Practice the #1 challenge that will make your apology healing.

Posted Apr 30, 2017

There is no greater apology-challenge than that of listening without defensiveness, especially when we don’t want to hear what the other person is telling us.  

This is because words of apology, no matter how sincere, will not heal a broken connection if we haven’t listened well to the hurt party’s anger and pain.

It’s impossible to overstate how difficult it is to shift out of defensive mode in order to give an apology that's not just a quick way out of a difficult conversation. When the injured party approaches us in an angry or critical way, our automatic set point is listening for what we don’t agree with. It’s so automatic that it takes motivation, courage, and good will to observe our defensiveness and practice stepping aside from it.  

Non-defensive listening that heals broken connections and makes our apology heartfelt requires us to;

*quiet our mind,

*open our heart

*ask questions to better understand the essence of what the critical party is saying.

*listen for what we can agree with rather than focussing on the exaggerations and errors which may inevitably be there.

It also requires that we:

*stop ourselves from interrupting, making corrections, and saying things that leave the critical party feeling unheard or cut short.

 *get past our defensiveness when the other person is saying things that we don’t agree with and don’t want to hear, and instead let her voice and her pain affect and influence us.  

*refrain from bringing up the other person's crime sheet,.

*save our different perspective for another time when it can be a focus of conversation rather than a defense strategy.

All of us are more motivated to improve our talking skills than our listening skills. Yet our capacity to listen without defensiveness is perhaps the number one skill on which success in our intimate and work relationships depend.

Don't we all know the excruciating pain of being on the receiving end of the non-apologizer's defensiveness--that person who won't listen, care about our feelings, take responsibility and feel remorse?

Why Won’t You Apologize? is a slender book that will help you to understand how much the simple apology matters and teach you how to give an apology that heals. And join Brené Brown and me for our new online course on the power of apologizing at COURAGEworks.

We each take turns unwittingly hurting others and being hurt by them, so learn all you can about being on both sides of the equation.  

Hard stuff to put into practice, but so worth it.