Reading Matters

‘Why won’t you apologize?’

Is there someone in your life who owes you an apology?

Or, by chance, is there someone in your life to whom you owe an apology?

Either way, it’s downright tricky.

According to a book due in January, “Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts,” by Harriet Lerner, apologies matter.

“I’m sorry,” are the two most healing words n the English language, says Lerner. “When they are spoken as part of a wholehearted apology, these words are the greatest gift we can give to the person we have offended.”

But, according to Lerner, some people can’t apologize. In this book, she tells you why. (The person might be too shame-based, among other reasons).

She also tells you the five best ways to ruin an apology (for one, watch out for the sneaky little add-on of “but”).

She gives suggestions on how to respond to criticism (”I want you to know I’m going to keep thinking about what you’ve told me.”)

And Lerner includes a chapter on “The Most Stunning Apology I Ever Witnessed.”

Lerner is also the author of several other books, including “The Dance of Anger” and “The Dance of Fear.”

What a powerful book. Anyone who has friends, co-workers, family members would do well to have a copy of this book at the ready... just in case.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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