My Apologies

oneApology_smEver feel compelled to repeatedly apologize?  I recently started working with a meditation teacher after seven years meditating on my own.  After we agreed to a lifelong student-teacher relationship thereby increasing the intensity of the commitment for me, we set up a Skype session to talk about the details.  The day before the session, or so I thought, he called asking why I hadn’t called him.  Somehow I put the meeting on the wrong day on my calendar.  People consider me both responsible and punctual, as do I.  So when he called I found myself apologizing more than once and still focusing on my error the next day.  He kindly requested I only apologize once for a mistake explaining how continuing to apologize keeps the mistake alive.  He clearly moved past it more quickly than I.

Apologizing once after first feeling sincere regret over a mistake releases the charge and intensity around both the mistake and what the other person thinks.  Before my scheduling error, I didn’t comprehend my deep attachment to “responsible and punctual.”  Through my apologies, I wanted to avoid my teacher’s judgment, to petition him not to abandon me as a student, and for him to see me as worthy despite my glaring error but even more so to push away my discomfort around making the uncharacteristic mistake.  Now I understand how a high quality one-time apology works for you as well as the other person, inviting you to accept and expand into your humanness rather than restricting your way out of it.  Trying harder does not work, relaxing does.  You make mistakes and you make amends.

Too many apologies come across like too many excuses, broadcasting anxiety rather than sincere regret.  Notice how it feels when someone profusely or repeatedly apologizes, if it gets pronounced enough you might even find yourself wanting to save them from their misery.  Apologizing sincerely and succinctly while taking full responsibility for your mistake offers comfort to the receiver and to you, not further distress.

Do you confine yourself to one high quality, heartfelt apology for a given mistake?  If someone accepts your apology, do you still dwell on what happened or can you liberate yourself from it?



  1. So true => Too many apologies come across like too many excuses, broadcasting anxiety rather than sincere regret. Toastmasters has cured me of the need to apologize. When I first joined, one of the members actually told me to stop apologizing so much. Since then, I have monitored myself more closely. Excellent post! Thanks for sharing, Christy 🙂


  2. This is very apropos as I find myself apologizing over and over again for not being consistent in correspondance and many other things. Your blog brings up a excellent point that a sincere and meaningful apology once really does make a difference for moving on for the person apologizing and for the one it was intended. Glad I logged on to LinkedIn this morning and saw this.


    • Bea! So good to see you here and I’m glad this was timely. Speaking of timely, the irony of missing two blog comments on this post in particular amuses me greatly! Thanks so much for your interest and your post. 🙂


  3. Hi Christy – I missed this when originally posted, and there are no accidents, as today this has particular resonance for me.


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