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Getting Satisfaction

Air Your Grievance and Receive an Apology

You have been wronged. They said something or did something that hurt you. They could be long dead, in your past, or in your daily life. You can't let it go. You need to tell them what they did and how much it hurt. You need to receive the apology you deserve. You believe that telling them and receiving an apology is impossible. You are stuck.


You can, however, rewrite reality for your brain, and your brain can believe it enough to let go. Olivia Fox Cabane, in her book The Charisma Myth, has a small but powerful exercise that gives you that apology and that satisfaction.

  1. Sit down in a quiet place with two pieces of paper and a pen.

  2. Write that person a letter by hand, using one piece of paper. Typing it does not get the powerful results. Tell them everything you want to say about how they wronged you.

  3. Sign your name at the bottom and set the paper aside.

  4. Write a letter of apology from them to you with the second piece of paper. Have them apologize for the wrongs they have done and have them take responsibility. Leave out justifications.

  5. Sign THEIR name at the bottom of the second paper.

  6. Pause. Reread their response. You can reread this a few times over the course of the next few days, should you choose.

Your mindset impacts your health, your relationships and the trajectory of your life. This exercise can pivot your mindset for the better. 

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