“I know I’ve been quiet, and lord knows you don’t want to hear about me, but I want you to know I’ve been sitting in a hole of deserved global punishment, the ultimate ‘sit here and think about what you’ve done,'” Teigen wrote in a blog post Monday.
Last month, Teigen was exposed for publicly harassing Courtney Stodden, who was told to kill themself when they were only 16. Teigen’s track record of bullying also included vicious tweets directed at Avril Lavigne, Lindsay Lohan and Republican politician Sarah Palin.
“Not a day, not a single moment has passed where I haven’t felt the crushing weight of regret for the things I’ve said in the past,” Teigen wrote in reference to her tweets. “I’m truly ashamed of them. As I look at them and understand the hurt they caused, I have to stop and wonder: How could I have done that?”
Though Teigen has expressed guilt and shame for her toxic behaviors, can we forgive people for their past problematic statements? Experts say it’s difficult, but a sincere apology can facilitate the process. In her post, Teigen notes that she’s publicly apologized “to one person,” though acknowledges there are many more to whom she needs to say sorry.
“I’m in the process of privately reaching out to the people I insulted,” she continued. “I understand that they may not want to speak to me. I don’t think I’d like to speak to me…But if they do, I am here and I will listen to what they have to say, while apologizing through sobs.”
More on Chrissy Teigen’s bullying:Courtney Stodden doubts Chrissy Teigen’s apology, calls her ‘wokeness’ a ‘broken record’
Teigen is one of many celebrities to own up to mistakes that have harmed others — intentionally or not. Ryan Reynolds and wife Blake Lively expressed regret for their 2012 wedding on a South Carolina plantation, calling it “something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for.” And Alton Brown apologized after he wrote a “flippant” tweet about the Holocaust.
Before accepting an apology, it’s important to first express how you really feel, says Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and author of “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life.”
“Forgiveness is a really important thing to consider when someone has hurt you,” she says. “You have to go through a line of emotions — anger, rage, resentment, hurt — and get to the point of releasing all of this first. You can’t just go straight to forgiveness when someone has said something so horrible like that to you.“
Fred Luskin, Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, reminds that the reason to forgive is to free yourself from the weight that comes with holding a grudge, rather than appeasing the offender.
“Holding a grudge and being bitter can have physical health consequences along with mental health consequences, and releasing this can significantly reduce stress,” he says, adding that “unforgiveness does not come for free.”
Obama, Alton Brown apologies:Should we forgive past problematic views?
What a real apology looks like
Luskin said it’s common for apologies to be “cheap” and lack authenticity or sincerity, but there’s a lot involved in repenting. A real apology requires remorse or acknowledgement of what you’ve done wrong, as well as amends, or actions taken to grow from the experience, according to Luskin.
“Just saying ‘I’m sorry’ is not that big of a deal. A real ‘I’m sorry’ will link the behavior with the effect on other people,” he says, adding that a sincere apology can make it easier to forgive someone for the harm that they’ve done.
Here are the five languages of apology, according to psychologist T.M. Robinson-Mosley:
- Expressing regret: Flat-out apologizing.
- Accepting responsibility: Instead of saying you were right, saying you were wrong.
- Making restitution: Asking what you can do to make it right.
- Genuinely repenting: Doing your best not to make the mistake again.
- Requesting forgiveness: Asking what you must do to be forgiven.
Contributing: David Oliver