It is extremely difficult for most people to offer up a real apology. Most of the time our apologies look like this, “I’m sorry but…” or “I’m sorry except…” or “I’m sorry however…” If you want to apologize to someone your statement should look more like “I’m sorry for saying…” or “I’m sorry I hurt you when I did…” If you qualify your apology or try to shift the cause of your bad behavior onto the other person then it is not an authentic and genuine apology.

Being able to give an authentic apology is very difficult. It requires that you take a good, hard look at your behaviour and take real ownership of it, admit that it was hurtful to the other person. In order to do this you must be willing to humble yourself before the other person and this is often the major stumbling block between people because apologies are necessary when there is conflict between two people. Hey, who wants to admit they were wrong? No one. But if you want to be truly happy you must be able to do this if you are going to negotiate a solution to the conflict and move forward. I like to quote Dr. Phil often because I believe he is truly a superstar when it comes to winding the way through relationships. He says, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” This is really key. Sometimes you have to surrender your right to own the outcome in order to preserve and grow your happiness.

When you have BPD if you are always angry at the world, you might do or say things that hurt other people. So, this is where learning how to give a real apology is crucial. If you want another person to forgive you then you must be able to give a real apology and, in many cases, this means humbling yourself before them. Not something many of us are really keen on doing, right? Still, you will not get anywhere with them if you come at them from an aggressive position and make excuses for your behavior.

The other piece that goes along with this, though is that you have to change the behavior which made an apology necessary in the first place. That is the hard part. The people in your life will likely forgive you many times over and over again for bad behavior but if the behavior never changes, eventually they will no longer be able to do so.