Foot in Mouth Syndrome? 4 Ways to Gracefully Recover and Feel Better

By Jigeesha

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Last Updated: August 21, 2021

When we are angry, we tend to blow things out of proportion. We get upset about things that wouldn't bother us otherwise. 

At that moment, the things that irritate us seem more important than everything else.

We temporarily lose our sense of judgment. Words come out of our mouths before our minds can process their potential consequences. You end up saying things you wish you had not said.

What follows is the guilt of knowing you have deeply hurt another person. Now how do you resolve things and make the situation right?

 

1. Stop obsessing about it. 

Anger can bring out the worst in us.

When we are angry or in a bad mood, we unintentionally end up saying things we don't even mean

This could be a reflection of your feelings in that particular moment, but not the actual truth. It doesn't have to define you, the person at the receiving end, or your relationship. 

  • Take time to calm yourself down.
  • Cut yourself some slack.
  • Ask yourself if your anger is about something else. 
  • Focus on making things right. 

It happens to the best of us. The important thing is to learn from the situation. Being too self-critical won't help you. Neither will wishing the situation away.

Instead of replaying the scenario in your head over and over again, try to separate what happened with why you may have been angry or reacting because of something else.

It's important to not brush over issues you may be having so you can come back to them. But first, you need to resolve the issue with the other person. 

Do You Lose Your Temper? 7 Tips to Tame Your Anger. 

 

2. Your awareness is important.

If you know what you did was wrong and are willing to correct your behavior, that says more about you than what you did in the heat of the moment. 

According to psychologists, the differences between having regret or having remorse point out a crucial difference in our reactions. 

Regret has to do with wishing you hadn’t taken a particular action. - Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D, LMFT on Psychology Today

Aren't they the same thing? According to Dr. Fjelstad, who works with people with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the difference lies in whether you feel sorry for yourself, or potentially the consequences you faced from it (regret) or you feel guilt or sorrow for hurting another person (remorse). 

Remorse involves admitting one’s own mistakes and taking responsibility for one's actions. - Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D, LMFT on Psychology Today 

Remorse over saying hurtful things to someone else suggests you have empathy.

You didn't want to make them feel bad. You're not a bad person who doesn't care about anyone's feelings. You never take joy in saying hurtful things to others. You are a well-meaning person who made a mistake. 

Think of your mistake as an opportunity to grow into the person that you want to become. Our mistakes help us understand and overcome our shortcomings. Reflect on what you said and try to be honest about why you acted the way you did. 

Use your experience to become a better person.

 

3. Apologize. 

It's the best way to restore trust when you've done something wrong. Sincere apologies help you to rebuild your relationship with the person you've hurt. 

By owning up to your mistake, you open a dialog with the other person. It enables you to take responsibility for your actions and also helps the other person to process their feelings. 

Remember apologies aren’t about you, they’re about the person you have hurt.

Avoid being defensive or shifting the blame on the other person. Validate their feelings. Don't make excuses for your behavior.

Making a sincere apology includes: 

  • First ask them if they are open to talking with you.
  • Find a safe space and time for them.
  • Tell them you are sorry you hurt them, and why.
  • Explain how you plan on making things right.
  • Promise it will not happen again. 

Keep in mind that the other person might not be ready to forgive you right away. If that happens, don't be discouraged. It's not easy to move on from painful emotions; you may already know this from your own experiences. Hurtful words can elicit a strong emotional reaction. 

They may think you don't care about them or love them as much. So let them know your comments were not an indication of how you actually feel about them. 

Do your best with the part that's in your control and give them time and space to heal.

 

4. Focus on what you can do from now on.

As much as we would like to avoid being angry or getting into arguments, it inevitably happens. That's why it's important to build the habit of keeping calm in stressful situations. There are many ways to do this. 

You can embrace meditation.

A regular meditation practice strengthens your ability to tackle life’s challenges with more clarity, and calmness. Meditation enables you to feel more in control of your emotions as it increases your emotional stability. 

You're less likely to get carried away with anger and say hurtful things to others. When you are more mindful and aligned with your inner self, you will begin to pause before you say anything hurtful. Your experiences will be guided by awareness and presence.

Regular meditation practice is well worth the effort.

8 Meditation Tips for Beginners: Quiet That Mind 

Track things in your journal. 

Journaling is also a great way to keep your feelings in check. Writing down your worries can relieve feelings of frustration. 

Seeing your thoughts written in front of you can help you identify your triggers and understand your best solutions to cope more effectively with stress.

As you become more aware of your emotions, you will be able to control yourself better when you get angry. 

It's always better to wait until you're calm and rational before you say something. Otherwise, you'll just aggravate the situation and say things you may regret later.

All in all, making amends when you were wrong involves accepting that it's okay to make mistakes and that the best thing you can do is work to be better from now on.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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