I want to take a moment to apologize. In response to last week’s theme of letting go, this week I want to talk about the power of I’m Sorry. Since I was a girl I was raised to apologize for my mistakes. Apologies are hard because of the feeling of shame that washes over you. No one likes that feeling that you are being both watched and judged. It’s in moments of wrongdoing that we are reminded of our humanity. It is also a reminder to the person that is being apologized too the courage it takes to admit fault and the vulnerability it takes to be honest and know your apology may not be accepted and your relationship may be changed forever. As I have gotten older I have become more effective in both accepting responsibility for a mistake and apologizing for an error on my part. Lately I have apologized for moments I had nothing to do with and this has been the most profound experience of my life.
While at dinner with a co-worker, whom I am in the process of getting to know, we talked about his relationship. He told me that he has been with his girlfriend for 11 years. I asked if he wanted to marry her. His answer was a simple it’s complicated. I didn’t pry. But, over the course of the dinner he opened up and told me that his father doesn’t approve of his girlfriend, though he has never met her. After he told me everything about his father’s rejection of the women he loves, from my heart I told him that I am sorry. He looked at me and said that it’s fine, brushing it to the side. Not allowing him to brush over this moment, because I could see the hurt in his eyes, I continued, “I understand but I am sorry because I know that it hurts you.” He looked at me as he clenched his jaw and listened. “I am sorry because I know she is hurting too.” His reaction was what only can be described as accepting the truth of my statement in a way that looked like a relief or a release that someone acknowledged his hurt.
Recently, while at dinner with a friend, I learned that he is in his first relationship and that it’s going well! He’s been in a relationship for almost four months. I asked have you said I love you yet? He said that his boyfriend has, but he hasn’t. I asked why? Then I thought about my friends story and I realized he is afraid of being hurt. This particular friend lost one of the most important relationships of a person’s life, when he was young. I told him, I know you are afraid of loosing this person and being rejected and for that I am sorry. But, to be in love is to be vulnerable and your partner needs to hear it too. He listened and I could see the pain in his eyes.
I feel in both of my described moments the process of healing or letting go began. I am tired of all the pain I have heard and all the pain that I see. Why do we brush over the moments that bring us down and hold us back? I know it hurts. But we need to accept the past and heal. I will continue to talk about the bruises in our lives in hopes that the love of my words begins to heal the moments that are our sorest spots. Apologies are hard to give when you have done something wrong, but they are necessary. Apologies may be even harder and more necessary for the people you care about whom you know are hurting. It may be the thing they need to start the process of letting go. It’s never to late to apologize for your wrong doing or on the behalf of someone else.