Eating Humble Pie: When and How to Say Sorry

I love my desserts just like everyone else, but eating humble pie is certainly not one of them! Yet this is an essential part of life’s diet. Do you know when you’re wrong, and how to say sorry?

Should you be eating humble pie? When to say sorry

1. Ego vs principle

Ask yourself you are taking the moral high ground because of principle or ego. Stand up if it’s based on principle, stand down if it’s ego. If you have to think about what principle is at play, it’s probably not principle but ego. Don’t justify ego by inventing principles. Look out for feelings of embarrassment or resentment. These are the signs of a pricked ego.

2. Principle vs relationship

You may your ground on principle, but it could cause friction with another person. You have to decide which matters more. A good way to decide is to ask yourself this: When you are on your deathbed, would you choose the principle or the person? Your answer will tell you which matters more in this case.

Eating humble pie: How to say sorry

A. “I am sorry”

Saying sorry is easy because you usually really are sorry when you fall out with someone you care about. Saying “I am sorry” does not admit liability or guilt, but simply expresses a heartfelt regret that things have come to this stage.

B. “I was wrong”

This requires more courage since you are admitting that you are at fault. It takes a big person to say this. The good news is that once you’ve said it, the other person usually responds by accepting part of the responsibility as well.

c. “Please forgive me”

While asking for forgiveness seems melodramatic and archaic, it offers an opportunity for healing. When the quarrel has been extremely hurtful, or the relationship deeply damaged, healing is necessary. You may need to feel forgiven and the other person may need to give it in order to feel restored to dignity.

d. Reach out through action

You may not be comfortable expressing remorse verbally. In this case, hold out an olive branch by behaving in a way that lets the other person know you do feel sorry and want to make up for it.

Do something nice for that person, leave a small gift for him, or just touch her arm or slap his back as you walk past. Any of these will be understood as moving toward the other person and accepted in lieu of a proper apology.

Include eating humble pie into your personal growth diet. It is one of the rare desserts that may actually be good for you!

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