Apologising is seen as an extremely difficult task. It can make you feel vulnerable, and no one really likes to feel less in control of their life. Saying ‘sorry’ is easy; but what is really difficult is meaning it, and letting the receiving party know that you’re truly sorry to have hurt them in whichever way. In this day and age, we see many people struggling with apologies — while some are half-hearted, others are weak and self-centered. But, some others are also sincere and heartfelt.
Sydney-based criminal lawyer Jahan Kalantar in his TED talk explains the framework for a perfect apology, one that is victim-centred and unfeigned. “As adults we now have two problems: one, we never learn to say sorry properly and two, we’re anxious about doing so,” says Kalantar.
Narrating the experience of a young 20-year-old boy, he recalls that the boy spent eight hours writing a heartfelt apology for the judge. “So, what goes into a good apology? There’s a framework you can always use. It goes: ‘why, because, and always’. Start with the ‘why’ you’re sorry,…move to the ‘because’,…and finish with an ‘and’.”
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“So what’s the lesson that’s learnt in a lifetime of helping people in moments of chaos? Well, when you say sorry, mean it. Look people in the eye and use the framework. Don’t be afraid to say sorry because you’re too busy looking for the perfect words. And when you say ‘thank you’, mean it. Look people in the eyes don’t be afraid to say kind words because life is very hard, and people don’t hear kind words nearly often enough. The next time you make a mistake, or you need to thank someone for something, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and authentic,” Kalantar says in conclusion.