A sincere apology is always a good place to start, but “making amends” is even better. Suppose you bark at your spouse for no good reason. Try this:
- Own your mistake. Simply say “‘I’m sorry I was irritable earlier. I realize it upsets you when I raise my voice.”
- Offer some insight. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of work stress lately, and I unfairly put that onto you.”
- Make amends. “Let me take you out to your favorite restaurant tonight–and the dirty dishes are on me for the rest of the week.”
Apologize, yes, but also commit to some concrete positive action in the immediate future. Doing the dishes isn’t the same thing as working through your irritability issues, but it’s a start, a placeholder until you can better sort out your work stress. When you’ve made an error, doing something to address it is always better than doing nothing.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.