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The Anatomy of an Apology

We all have parenting fails. I had one recently, where in retrospect, I was acting like the child. It was a hot, humid, busy day around the house packing the Weekend Warrior (our camping trailer) for our upcoming adventure. I was having a conversation with my partner, when my daughter kept trying to interrupt us. Let’s just say I frickin’ lost it. I went outta my mind, went ballistic on her, for interrupting. Okay, well maybe that homage to The Champ was for emphasis, but I definitely over reacted and yelled. The worst part of it was she was trying to tell me she was hungry and didn’t know what she could eat, because she didn’t want to eat the camping food. She was being responsible. 

I cooled off quickly, came back and apologized to my daughter. Explaining to her why it happened, what I did wrong and what I’ll try to do in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

And do you know what my little angel did? She looked me in the eyes, responded with an acceptance of my apology and stated what she could have done better too. Can I get a HALLEJUAH from the crowd? 

An apology is a rudimentary skill, but one that is necessary to maintain relationships. I was so impressed with her that I made a big deal out of it. I took advantage of the opportunity to reinforce the anatomy and techniques of delivering an apology. Part of that discussion I didn’t learn growing up, and something I still struggle with, is forgiving myself

As a tween, my daughter is about to make a lifetime of mistakes. If I can break the cycle about self-depreciating emotions when she makes mistakes, I can flip a parenting fail into a parenting win. 

Forgiveness is necessary to move forward, to avoid resentment of others, but also to nip self-loathing in the bud. It is said that forgiveness removes the power others have over you; the reciprocal can be applied to oneself to provide inner peace and strength. 

Self-forgiveness is the most important part of the anatomy of an apology.

Janet Smith is a proud single-mom of one daughter and a marketing professional who is grateful for her rural roots in the London area. She is a big believer in connecting with people through laughter and honesty.


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