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Why Won’t You Apologize by Harriet Lerner is a must read for those who believe that relationships mean a commitment to understanding each other.
Sorry. This word can be said in many different ways with many different emotions behind it. Barring a few exceptions, however, saying sorry to someone is hard, and putting your pride down in saying that is probably the hardest.
In her book Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts, the renowned psychologist and bestselling author of The Dance of Anger, Harriet Lerner sheds new light on the two most important words in the English language: ‘I’m sorry’ – and offers a unique perspective on the challenge of healing broken relationships and restoring trust with the proper use of this phrase.
Lerner has been studying apologies for more than two decades. In this book she offers compelling stories and solid theory to demonstrate the transformative power of making amends, and what is required for healing when the damage we’ve inflicted (or received) is far from simple.
Lerner challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind and helps those who have been injured to resist pressure to forgive too easily. She explains what drives both the non-apologizer and the over-apologizer, and why the people who do the worst things are the least able to own their misdeeds. With her trademark humour and wit, Lerner offers a joyful and sanity-saving guide to setting things right.
I happened to come across this book on my Instagram feed and was compelled to pick it up after reading the title and tagline.
The most wonderful thing about Why Won’t You Apologize? is that not only does it explain how to apologize like you mean it, but also how to accept an apology from the wrong-doer. An apology can only work if both parties involved in the hurt or betrayal understand the issue without being defensive.
I particularly loved how the author explains what different kinds of apologies imply and why we may feel that despite saying sorry, the person who is hurt is not forgiving.
Readers of this book learn how to craft a meaningful apology and avoid signals of insincerity that only deepen suffering.
It does not tell you to be overly generous in your apology or to give in to unreasonable demands. Nor does it ask you to forgive too easily when you are still feeling hurt.
It explains how a wholehearted apology means valuing your relationship and accepting your as well as the other person’s responsibility without any hint of evasion, excuse or blame. It teaches you to lead with your heart, have the courage to apologize and the wisdom to do it meaningfully.
A sincere apology forms the basis of effective leadership, relationships, personal integrity and love. Nothing is more important in life than that.
Published here earlier.
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Top image via Pixabay and book cover via Amazon