Healing big betrayals and everyday hurts.

Five things you can do to improve your relationships now from the book, Why won’t you apologize? 

1/ Offer an apology when an apology is due.

“I’m sorry” are the two most healing words when spoken as part of a heartfelt apology. Saying you’re sorry when you haven’t done anything is simple. It gets complicated when there are regrettable past behaviors and feelings involved.

When making an apology, remember it’s not about you. Listen and empathize with what the other person has experienced and felt. If requesting an apology: stick to the facts, keep your request short and keep your comments to the problematic behavior to avoid shaming the person.

2/ Make the other feel special, valued and chosen.

Making someone feel special doesn’t take grand gestures. Show them that you value them by smiling when you speak to them, listening intently to what they say and acknowledging their feelings, asking questions to demonstrate your interest in them or sharing a favorite memory. If appropriate for the relationship, pat their back, hold their hand or give them a hug.

3/ Respect differences including different ways of responding to stress.

Stress itself is not necessarily bad. However, for many people stress causes a variety of negative health issues including anxiety, depression, addiction, aggression, insomnia, inability to stay awake, withdrawal, headaches, muscle aches and bodily damage. For some, stress can enhance their focus and drive. Understanding how someone responds makes it easier to support them while focusing on the quality and direction of your own life.

4/ Focus on changing their own steps in the dance rather than waiting for the other to change first.

According to Dr. Harriet Lerner, relationships operate in a circular, not linear fashion. The behavior of each person provokes and reinforces the behavior of the other. The real question is not who started it, or who is to blame, but rather what each person can do to change his or her steps in the dance.

5/ Stop the negative comments that erode the foundation of the relationship and replace them with positive ones.

Don’t take things quite so personally; unhappiness or insecurity can make people say stupid things. When other people act badly, it has to do with them, not with you.

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