Lessons From Tiger Woods’ Apology

Tiger Woods’ recent apology could go a long way toward repairing his image, but much more importantly it could help to repair his marriage – IF he meant what he said and follows through with his commitments. In his speech, he admitted to his infidelities (of course), acknowledged that he didn’t deserve special treatment, implored the media to keep his family out of it, and said that he and Elin would be having many deep, difficult conversations that would stay between them. Although most of us will never experience a fall as public as Tiger’s, there are pieces of his speech that can apply to just about anyone when it comes to relational difficulty.

How Tiger’s Apology Can Help Every Relationship

  • Don’t think that you’re above the rules. One of the things that Tiger pointed out was because of his position and fame, he felt that he was entitled to all the perks and opportunities that came along with his role. Unfortunately, when it all came crashing down he realized he would have to deal with the fall-out just like everyone else. People engaging in affairs tend to make similar excuses no matter what their position in life – they come to believe they’re justified or entitled to make the decisions they’re making. But when the truth is discovered, most everyone ends up in the same place, picking up the pieces.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – from friends or a higher power. In the course of his apology, Tiger referenced the support he’d received from friends as well as his need to get back to the Buddhist teachings of his childhood. When we’ve made mistakes – whether they’re of a sexual nature or not – that affects the people around us and we’re trying to pick up the pieces, we need a support system. Thinking we can do it alone through our own power will only lead to further mistakes.
  • Don’t let the outside in. Conversely, there are certain things that need to be kept between the people most affected. As Tiger implored the media to leave Elin out of it, so people who are in a difficult situation need – even more than normal – to engage in what I call Smart Heart Dialogue, which I mention in my book, Make Up Don’t Break Up. This type of communication creates a safe space where the truth can be spoken without fear of judgment or repercussion and where each person has a place to voice their concerns and fears. Creating an environment like this doesn’t happen over night and it certainly doesn’t happen if the people involved are worried that their confessions will be broadcast.
  • Don’t be opposed to putting your life on hold. Serious mistakes need to be taken seriously. And this may mean taking time out to get professional counseling, enter a treatment program or take time apart to sort things out. Don’t think that everything can be business as usual and eventually the details will fall into place. Relationships that have fallen on hard times need even more nurturing, but they CAN grow and move beyond a painful, upsetting phase.

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