Our connections and relationships, whether these be platonic or romantic, will define our future path, success, and happiness. Here you can learn about apology language, the 8 steps to forgiveness and how to build healthier friendships and relationships by combining healthy apology languages and honest forgiveness.
“You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.”Joel Osteen
Dr Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas have created a stepping stone process on how to understand apology languages and use them to apologise effectively.
What are the five apology languages?
- Expressing Regret: It can at times be easy to say ‘I am sorry,’ on a surface level as we realise something is wrong or to ‘get out of a crisis.’ We cannot apologise properly if we do no have sincerity and authenticity of regret. We have to truly empathise and understand the pain we have caused the other person and express our understanding of that pain when we apologise. For example being late home for dinner might not simply be being late home for dinner. We may have consistently over 12 months cancelled and been late due to our career (which is of course important to us), albeit we can make our partner always feel second best. Our partner may have spent hours making this meal and the evening special.
- Accepting Responsibility: Overlapping with expressing regret if we accept responsibility for our actions then we make a strong statement and a clean statement on how we can improve. This will help prevent a continuous back and forth nature of blaming one another. You cannot control others but you can take responsibility for your own actions.
- Making Restitution: The focus here is on making the injured party aware of how much we love them. For example if we have been late home too many times we want to express how much they do truly mean to us.
- Genuinely Repenting: It is important that we show the other person at hand that we do not wish to make the same mistake again. We are only human and we will all make mistakes and we will all be late form time to time, however we want to show them that we will put them first and start taking action on this from today.
- Requesting Forgiveness: Once we have showed our sincerity, compassion, and empathy then saying the simple words; ‘will you forgive me?’ can help with the healing process and offer a smooth transition into the next positive future steps.
Feel free to explore this fun Love language Quiz.
If we can’t forgive ourselves or forgive others then it is hard for us to understand why others should forgive us. Once you’ve accepted the apology languages, you can learn the 8 steps to forgiveness.
- Identify: Here we want to identify people or a person who has hurt us.
- Describe the betrayal: How did this action hurt you? How did you feel? Did their actions cause you to view the world differently? For example did you lose faith or change your beliefs on everyone in the world based on the person who hurt you?
- Their Pain: Assess the person who hurt you. Assess what may have caused them to become that person. People who cause suffering, act out in aggression and other negative forms are deeply unhappy individuals. Did they have a challenging childhood? They are unhappy themselves.
- Compassion: This powerful statement can help; ‘I wish you love and happiness, I am walking away from this situation.’ This statement can help put you in a positive state and you maturely detach yourself from the other individual. You wish them no harm and you will walk away and create the happiness you deserve. You may say this statement privately to yourself and it can help you heal the way you view them and the relationship with the actions they took to cause you pain.
- Take Responsibility: Choose to own your pain and take action to heal that pain. We do not wish to cause suffering to others and we must work through our pain.
- Actually Decide to Forgive: Once we have created a place of compassion and chosen to take responsibility we can decide to forgive. Say this to yourself privately and choose to forgive the individual at hand.
- Gesture: You may wish to offer an olive branch and gesture of forgiveness.
- Meaning: Finding meaning through challenges can help you move on and make sense of such events. Once we heal we can find something we have learned and improve ourselves as well based on such learnings.
Now we know how to apologise effectively and we understand the process of healing and forgiveness. This can help prevent you from feeling trapped in life.
How do we create more harmonious relationships?
Savoring is a very powerful way to create deeper connections and moment of meaning between individuals whether this is a friendship, family conversations or in a romantic relationship.
Savoring is similar to the concept of mindfulness or mindful thinking whereby you appreciate the present moment. However savouring goes deeper than this and it is more than being present minded. You will fully embrace the moment and cultivate deeper meaning and values in this moment. You may feel ‘lost in the moment.’
This could range from being on your own to watch the sunrise and you deeply appreciating nature, solitude and putting life into perspective.
With another person this could range from an activity with friends such as hiking to the top of a mountain and in the present moment embracing friendship, accomplishment and the view. There is a cross dynamic of being present mentally and physically with the environment but also your philosophical thought.
In a romantic setting this could be dancing, shared laughter and other shared moments. It is possible to re create these moments of ‘magic’ regularly if you practice mindfulness and connect the present moment with others and your deeper values for life in a cross dynamic process.
Practice mindful thinking as often as possible each day; feel the senses from your toes all the way through the body to your head. Feel the wind, the temperature, your breath. Observe nature and observe people in your day to day life as much as you can.
It is natural to get lost with ‘your problems’, past memories and future thoughts in our mind.
But practice mindful thinking as much as you can each day.
Our resource page overthinking quotes can help you put things in perspective and we recommend that from time to time you explore this page.
Practice mindful conversation and engagement socially; listen to what the other person is saying to you. Listen to the tone of their voice and be aware of the meaning behind each conversation. Practice fully being engaged in the conversation.
Begin to appreciate as many moments as possible when practicing mindful thinking and mindful conversations.
Finding values and meaning involves things that are important to you and discovering more depth in the world. This could range from a beautiful walk in nature and you appreciate the trees and flowers and it makes you think more philosophically on life and why we are here. This could involved shared laughter and the strong values you have for your friends and loved ones. This could involve a cup of tea with a grand parent and you appreciate the wisdom and the decades of change that they have lived through.
Take time to become more conscious of the meaning behind conversations.
Through the integration of mindful thinking, mindful conversations and the appreciation and value detection in as many moments as possible; you will discover a cross dynamic of layering of savoring much more regularly in your life.
We can teach you more about savoring and other exercises with our free app download – Meaningful Paths on Apple IOS and Google Play stores.
A Conclusion of Thoughts
If we can learn to forgive others, communicate with our apology language, and create deeper connections through savouring we will have a healthier balance throughout life in our relationships whether this is romantic, friendship, family or even colleagues. Life will hit us hard at times and it will be our relationships, quality of connection and ability to communicate effectively though such trials that will see us through. The quality of our connections will also lead to some of the happiest and greatest moments in our life as well. Such highs and quality of connection will also help us survive arguments and challenging events in our life time. Begin practicing savouring today and organically work on healing your past. From this you will be not only a much happier individual but you will also understand the sincere depth of dynamics at play when apologising to another person as well.
Positive Psychology Program B.V 2020.