The Apology Card I Use with My Kids and Clients



As a mom, there are some things that I thought would be much easier to teach.


I remember when my kids were young and they were finally out of diapers I thought I was done wiping butts. Well, I was wrong. It took my kids much longer to master that skill.


Blowing your nose is also a skill that seemed to take forever for my kids to master. Before I had kids I never realized how hard it was to figure out how to blow out rather than in.


There are still a few things I would have thought my 13 year old would have mastered by now such as saying “please” and “thank you” without being reminded, and how to give a genuine apology.


The more I tried to teach my kids how to apologize, the more I realized that it is a hard skill for many adults as well. This inspired me to create the “apology index card.”


In case you can’t read my handwriting it says:


I’m sorry I __________ (fill in the blank with what you did.)

I was __________ (fill in emotion.)

I could have __________ (fill in what you could have done instead.)_


Here are some examples of what it might look like:


I’m sorry I threw your helmet at you. I was angry. I could have walked away and taken a deep breath and calmed down.


I’m sorry I called you stupid. I was frustrated. I could have thought before I spoke.


What I love about the apology note card is that not only do you say sorry, you also name your feelings (which can be very challenging for one of my kids) and you get a chance to think about a better solution to your problem.


Once I noticed how well it was working with my kids, I shared it with some of my clients. In this case I had them use the apology index card on themselves.


As women, we know we tend to be our harshest critics. I find this especially true with women who have challenging relationships with their bodies.


Here are a couple examples of how it might look using the apology card on yourself:


I’m sorry I ate so much sugar. I was feeling depressed. I could have gone for a walk or called a friend.


I’m sorry I didn’t exercise again. I was exhausted. I could have gone to bed earlier and made moving my body a priority.


I’m sorry I called you fat. I was frustrated. I could have spoken more kindly to myself.


The more you get in the habit of using the apology card the more you start to see patterns in your behavior. You also get in the habit of knowing what you could do before you succumb to old patterns that are no longer working for you.


For example, if you have used the apology card multiple times in reference to eating sugar, it’s time you actually implement your “what you could have done instead” strategy. If that strategy doesn’t work, you get to be creative and come up with something else.


I challenge you to experiment with this card and see if it helps. You never know what you learn about yourself in the process.


My hope is that you find this tool useful and that it helps you continue to create a more positive relationship with your body and food.



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Michelle has broadened my knowledge of incorporating whole and satisfying food and eliminating cravings and deprivation. I am so grateful to have had her guidance on my journey.

Sherry Gowarty