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How to Write a Letter of Remorse

by Alyson Paige

When a person experiences remorse, he realizes at a deep level the consequences of some harmful action. Express remorse over harm done as an important step in a process of healing for you and your victim(s). Write a letter of remorse as an act of contrition. Use sincere words to try to alleviate any pain you have caused another person. Experience the act of writing as cleansing.

Act with appropriate timing. Write a person whom you have offended or harmed as soon as possible. Address the issue quickly to communicate your swift desire to make the situation right and to avoid re-opening old wounds after too much time has passed.

Use a formal or semi-formal tone to convey your regret for what you did or what you failed to do. Write with a formal tone to recipients such as courts, employers and people you do not know well. Apply a semi-formal tone in a letter to family or friends.

Take clear responsibility without pointing any fingers of blame at the recipient. Focus on the purpose of the letter, which is to express remorse for your part in a difficult situation.

Communicate understanding for how the person may feel. Tell the person that you know your actions caused unhappiness, pain or anger and that you validate the person's emotional responses.

Leave the door open for the way in which the recipient chooses to respond. Tell the person you accept that she is free to accept or reject your apology. Express your sincere desire to respect her feelings going forward.

Write a first draft and let that sit for at least a few hours. Return to the letter with the goal of making each sentence as clear and free of judgment as possible.

About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.

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