The Five Languages of Apology

The Five Languages of Apology

Has a loved one ever hurt you and though they apologized, you weren’t able to put the offense behind you? Something about their apology was missing the mark. In their book, “The Five Languages of Apology” Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas found that “what one person considers a sincere apology is not necessarily what another person may consider a sincere apology. In essence, they have different languages of apology.” Apologizing is fundamental to having healthy relationships. The five are as follows: a. Expressing Regret: “I am sorry” The offended person needs to hear the words I am sorry. Those words convey ownership; that you realize what you did has hurt them deeply. It acknowledges and identifies their pain and ownership of your behavior. “Without the expression of regret, they do not sense that the apology is adequate or sincere.” b. Accepting Responsibility: “I was wrong” Willingness to admit wrongdoing. Own it. Conveying that what you did was wrong, unkind or insensitive. Some people have a difficult time admitting they’re wrong. Saying I was wrong does not mean I am bad. It erroneously becomes tied to their self-worth instead of being linked with behavior. Everyone messes up from time to time. No one is perfect. As one comes to terms with their individual strengths and limitations without feeling ashamed, they will be better able to own the wrongdoing. c. Making Restitution: “What can I do to make it right?” A person whose primary language is making restitution requires that the offender express a willingness to do something to make up for the pain that was caused. (When you know what...
Five Positive Practices

Five Positive Practices

We all want to live happy and fulfilled lives. Research in positive psychology suggests that the following tips have the power to actually change your outlook and help improve your satisfaction with life. Whether it’s with a friend, family member, or as a personal challenge, here are five positive practices to bring greater happiness in your life: 1. Live in the Moment.  It is easy to let our thoughts drift into the future or the past.  We think about goals and deadlines, reminisce on good times or perhaps ruminate on bad ones. Perhaps the most difficult, yet rewarding task we can do is to keep our minds in the present.  There are many ways you can practice living in the moment – starting with a personal practice of mindfulness. Not all mindfulness happens in a yoga studio or in a Zen space – it can be as simple as taking deep breaths in the office or listening to the rhythmic sound of your shoes hitting pavement on a walk.  2. Listen to Loved Ones.  With so much information vying for our attention, sometimes it gets hard to focus and we miss important moments. If loved ones are confiding in you, put whatever you are doing aside and listen to the meaning behind their message. Listen to learn. Listen to understand. Put aside the need to fix or help them with whatever they’re saying. Reflect back what you hear them say. Ask them for clarification if their message is confusing. These counseling techniques helps them to become more clear about what is disturbing for them. People typically vent so that...

Don’t Overlook the Little Things

I received this story in an email and found it so moving; I wanted to share it on my blog. It was originally titled The Seven Wonders of the World. And the story goes like this: A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.” Thought there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes: Egypt’s Great Pyramids Taj Majal Grand Canyon Panama Canal Empire State Building St. Peter’s Basilica China’s Great Wall While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So, she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.” The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the “Seven Wonders of the World” are: To See To Hear To Touch To Taste To Feel To Laugh To Love The room was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook that we feel are simple and ordinary, that we take for granted, are truly wondrous! Let this serve as a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man. Take time now to hug the ones you love and be grateful for all you have and enjoy this moment right...

Creating Your Family Holiday Legacy

When you think about your childhood holiday memories, what comes up for you? Did you wake up to the smell of turkey roasting in the oven Thanksgiving morning? Did your family travel during the holidays? What traditions did your family do that fill you with joy? With the holidays right around the corner it’s an excellent time for you to prepare for and decide what memories you want to create this holiday season. Family rituals help to define your cultural traditions and the values you espouse and to create a strong sense of belonging for one another. They also become the memories that children talk about long after they leave home. What were your fondest memories in preparing the Thanksgiving meal? Did each member have a specific responsibility? Were toddlers given age appropriate tasks? Or were children asked to play and stay out of the way? Children thrive when they feel included in holiday preparations. It gives them a sense of feeling needed, valued and that they belong. They get the message that as a member of your family, they matter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, do your holiday memories elicit distress or sadness? Do you have family members who aren’t speaking with each other? Is there a thoughtless/clueless relative who others prefer not to have around? What do you do with the relative who drinks too much? How should one handle these diversions when the holidays are supposed to be festive? Plan now what you want your family holiday legacy to be. How do you want your children to remember the holidays? Do you have to...

Open-Heartedness

Guest post: Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CSAT-S, CST-S, Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex Every person possesses the quality of open-heartedness. The real test is to stretch into open-heartedness whenever you feel like isolating and shutting down. It’s so easy to close a heart, especially against a partner if not all humankind at times. Withholding love is called cold, open-heartedness is called warm, and it’s possible there is actual vital energy being shared. Open your heart to yourself. Show yourself love even when you fall short or fail to be open, because certainly your shame, disappointment, regret, and expectation are not going to open that heart. There’s a saying that anger is like picking up a burning ember to throw at someone — you get burned in the process. It’s the same with close-heartedness. You might close your heart to protect yourself from intimidating or hostile forces, and yet it’s one of the most detrimental things you can do — to close your heart. Closing your heart as a form of protection is a contradiction. The only protection in any challenging situation is to open your heart, to keep life alive and vital energy flowing inside you. Image credit...

The Scientific View of Love

Why is it that couples so often wind up arguing over seemingly simple matters? A small comment gets lost in translation and suddenly the tension rises until it becomes an insurmountable barrier to the relationship. “Most fights are really protests over emotional disconnection” says Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. “We are never more emotional than when our primary love relationship is threatened. When our loved one is unavailable or unresponsive, we are assailed by emotions of anger, sadness, hurt, and above all, fear. Fear is the built-in alarm system that turns on when our survival is threatened. The alarm goes off in the brain’s amygdala, and triggers an automatic response to protect and defend.” Therefore, when a spouse angrily tells her partner, “you spend more time on the computer than with me!” her message likely means I’m feeling replaced, I don’t feel important, I long to be with you. When he responds with “that’s ridiculous! We just spent the entire morning together!” he’s defending or justifying his actions, but not addressing the (unspoken) emotional needs. When couples are in distress they often wonder, “Do I really matter to my partner?” “Can I count on you?” “Will you be here for me when I need you?” These important questions are at the root of couple conflict. How can you restore the loving bond? Slow down! Instead of reacting (because the amygdala is activated), slow yourself down. Take several deep breaths. Remind yourself that it’s because your partner matters so much to you that you’re “fighting” for connection. You wouldn’t be so...