Is there a word that is more important than “sorry”? Being able to apologise is a life skill we need to have if we want successful relationships with our partners, children, family, friends, and workmates.

So why do so many people struggle to say sorry? Some people were not taught the importance of an apology by their parents. Others don’t have the confidence to admit when they’ve made a mistake. They believe that they will be seen as weak if they don’t defend themselves to the death. Little do they realise that it takes strength and confidence to acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them.

You don’t even need to be at fault to apologise. There’s a lot of benefit in telling your partner: I’m so sorry that you’re upset by what I said or did, I certainly never meant to hurt you. How comforting is it to hear someone say: I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your job or I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad?

We need to teach our children the importance of saying sorry and the best way we can teach them is to be good role models. Admit when you have been too hard on them. Apologise for losing your temper. Try not to defend yourself. Tell them that you’re sorry that they’re struggling with a friendship. And insist that they say sorry when they have hurt someone or broken something.

But try not to go overboard. It’s not good for our confidence to keep saying sorry. Once your apology has been accepted, drop it. Bringing it up over and over again will only drive other people crazy and will defeat the whole purpose of saying sorry.

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