Few years ago, I was way more annoying than I am now😑. Because I’m quite extroverted and I hadn’t gained proper control of my temperament, I would easily lash out at others and sometimes say more than I should. Sometimes, even while joking, I would pass some mean comments that would hurt others and here’s the worst of it: I found it hard to apologise!😞. I have battled with this as far as I can remember and I had to start working on it. I would deceive myself and say it’s my nature and I can’t change it😂
I am not perfect now, I still pass some mean comments😩 but I know I have greatly improved and this I owe to three factors: The Holy Spirit and two books: Spirit Controlled Temperament and Five languages of Apology.
Even if your case isn’t as bad as mine 😩, it is common knowledge that we relate with various people daily and more often than not, we could annoy or hurt one or two people. Sometimes, saying ‘sorry’ isn’t enough for the person we wronged and we wonder why.
So I thought to run a quick review of the second book and how it changed my perspective and helped me not only to learn to apologise but also to do it the right way depending on who I hurt.
Roll with me😊
According to this book, there are five languages of apology:
- expressing regret
- accepting responsibility
- making restitution
- genuinely repenting
- requesting forgiveness
For many people, there is one primary language by which they want others to apologise. Let’s see if you’ll discover yours and that of those close to you
1. Expressing Regret
According to this book, many people do not see an apology as one until the one who offended expresses regret by what he or she has done and this is summed up in the words- “I’m sorry”. By saying this, you acknowledge that what you did was wrong and you express regret for your action.
2. Accepting Responsibility
I remember I had a friend who always had an explanation for everything he did wrong and this is like many of us today. We want to “explain away” our action or inaction. However, irrespective of the explanation you have to offer, the truth remains that you hurt someone. Speaking this language means you accept responsibility for what you have done and don’t blame it on external factors even though there may be some. One could say “I am sorry I yelled at you, it was my fault” or “I was wrong to speak to you so rashly”. Accepting responsibility sometimes makes it easy for others to forgive you.
3. Making restitution.
This can also mean “trying to right the wrong you have done”. I know this is my Mum’s secondary apology language. When she says you have done something wrong or placed something wrongly or failed to do what she asks you to do, she expects you to try to do it right immediately if possible else she won’t agree you’re actually sorry for doing it wrong in the first place.
When we hurt some people and restitution is possible, they expect us to do it and show that indeed we are sorry. Where restitution is not possible, this book emphasises that we must be ready to reassure the person we hurt that we still love them.
4. Genuinely Repenting
As was mentioned in this book, to repent means to turn around or change one’s mind.
Sometimes, people we hurt need to be assured that we won’t hurt them again. In addition to saying we are sorry or accepting responsibility, some people expect us to add words like “I promise not to repeat it again” or “I’ll take caution and try not to do this again”. However, as was said in the book, we must be careful not to make empty promises, we should make plans to actually ensure that we keep to our words.
5. Requesting Forgiveness
This is probably the hardest of all languages because it involves putting your ego aside and putting your self at the mercy of the other person’s forgiveness.
The authors explained that asking forgiveness is difficult for the asker because it means relinquishing control of the fate of the relationship, it means accepting the possibility of rejection, and it means admitting failure; despite the difficulty, actually saying the words “Will you forgive me?” has proven for many people to be the secret to healing and renewal of relationship.
When I first read this book and found out my own apology language, I realised I would often speak this language to other hoping that it would convey my apology to them but it doesn’t always work.
So here’s the thing, what conveys apology to one person may not convey the same to another person. We have to study our circle of friends properly and understand them to know what conveys sincere apology to them.
It is not unlikely to find those who have no preferences and also those who won’t still be appeased even if you use all five languages 😩. Those ones are the exceptions to the general rule and you have to probably do more than talk..maybe buy gifts.