wow. this particular example of an apology is really spot on for me. the article is focused on the relationship between a parent and an adult child, but i could see how this would work in so many other relationships, too. it's an invitation for a dialogue with an open heart, an offering of lovingkindness towards someone you have hurt, intentionally or not.
from lori gottleib in the atlantic:
"A sincere apology is heartfelt and empathic and entirely about the person receiving it. A letter in this spirit might go something like this: 'I owe you an apology, and I wish I’d offered it much sooner. I know that I’ve hurt you deeply, and I’m truly sorry for that. I would like to know more about your experience, because I’ve come to realize that I failed to see earlier that I put you through a lot of pain. You may be so hurt and distrusting of me that you don’t want to open up lines of communication, but I want you to know that I love you deeply and I’m committed to really listening to you and hearing you in a way I should have long ago. One idea I have is that maybe we could talk about some of this, at least initially, with a therapist of your choice. Of course, I love and miss you very much, but I also want to respect where you are. I hope that at some point you’ll be willing to talk with me about this. Whatever you decide, I want you to know that I’m starting to see my role in your pain, and am so sorry for it.'"
"Notice that the apology doesn’t ask for...forgiveness, something that would lessen your pain. It doesn’t offer reasons or justifications for why you may have made certain choices...It doesn’t imply that...is overly sensitive. (“I’m sorry if I hurt you” is different from “I’m sorry that I hurt you.”) It doesn’t manipulate..."