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Nothing is guaranteed in this life, well, almost nothing. The fact of the matter is, that actually, there is one thing in this life that I am sure of, and that is that we all make mistakes.

However, the difference between a person who makes a mistake and bounces back, and those that continue on and on into oblivion, only to spiral through the same mistakes is that those of us who bounce back truly want to do better by others. Instead of repeating a cycle that not only damages us but those around us, they learn that repenting for their dastardly deeds is the only way to at least somewhat right the damage was done.

It is in our apologies though, that we reveal our humanity.

When we sincerely apologize, most of the time we are forgiven. But the thing is, most people simply say ‘sorry, won’t happen again,’ and then go on to repeat the same mistakes as they have in their past.

I’m sorry, but ‘i’m sorry,’ just doesn’t cut it. Those words can so easily be said with little meaning behind them, and if you come at me with those words, I am likely to tell you where you can go. And not in a nice way. We live in the age of YOLO (you only live once- to those who are unsure of what it means) which translates to ‘do what thou want, and apologize later-but with NO meaning.’

And I don’t know about you guys, but I am quite frankly very tired of it. So what is it that makes a good apology? Well, I am glad you asked. Here is what, to me, means the difference between just saying the words and actually meaning them is.

1. Admit what you have done wrong- and own up to it.

I don’t want you to sit there and have a complete down on yourself session, but I do expect to know exactly what you are sorry for. I don’t want you to apologize for how I feel, I want you to know and understand what you have done wrong, and how you understand how it made me feel.

2. Indicate your plans for the future (how you want to proceed now that your apology has been stated.)

What do you plan on doing in the future to avoid making this mistake again? How do you expect to bounce back from your mistake? (There again, I don’t want anyone to think I am in the mindset that I am the apology queen, but, it’s important to make it count, right?)

3. Ask for forgiveness.

When you have done wrong, and said it out loud, instead of thinking you are forgiven, ask for forgiveness. Nine times out of ten, I am going to forgive, but I want to hear your acknowledgment that the decision is in my hands.

4. Understand the consequences.

Unless you understand the consequences of your actions, what purpose does your apology serve?

5. Put your plans into action.

Nothing speaks louder in your apology than seeing you truly mean it. If you mean it, I will realize this, and I will accept your apology and never hold the past against you. However, when someone apologizes to you and then makes no real change- how do you feel? Like their words are empty?

6. Let it go.

Don’t beat yourself up. If you mean your apology, and you truly want to be a better person, and the person you apologize to still doesn’t accept it, the only thing you can do is keep striving to be better. As long as you want to be a better person, to do better, and to stop the cycle of hurt- you are on the right path.