The Delivery and the Rewards
When you're ready to take action, pick a moment when you can get their undivided attention. I usually start with a preface to set the stage. For example: "This is hard for me. I'm try to learn something new and it's not easy, but there is something I need to say about our conversation yesterday."
Don't allow the recipient to brush off your apology or downplay it. You may need to repeat it two or three times until you feel like it is genuinely received.
After you've finished and expressed your regret, your job becomes to listen to the other person talk about how your actions affected them. That means you don't defend yourself and make excuses. Say something along the lines of "I want to understand." Just listen to the repercussions your words or actions had on them. Don't interrupt, justify or minimize your actions, or try to correct their perceptions. This is the time to walk in their shoes. You can ask them something like "What did you feel about what happened?" And after you listen well, acknowledge the other person. "I hear what you're saying and I'm truly sorry."
It's never too late to offer an apology when you know you were not acting in line with your best self. If apologizing is difficult for you, before you make your communication, support yourself by repeating such statements as "I did the best I could at the time." " We all make mistakes. Life is for learning." Or, "If I knew then what I know now, I would have done it differently. "
Your willingness to apologize shows your strength and desire to stay connected and to clear the air so you aren't carrying around unfinished business. Once the interaction is complete be sure to lavishly appreciate yourself for taking personal responsibility for your words and actions. And feel the love!