I’ve been thinking a lot about apologies. The I’m sorry’s we say and the ones we hear.
Apologies are great. And necessary for healthy relationships. We need to own up. But, oftentimes, apologies are not declarative offerings, but rather requests riddled with expectations. It goes something like this: Please help me rewrite the version of myself that did that thing so I can feel ok about myself.
Oooo, nails on the chalkboard. That is not owning up. That is saying, I can’t sit with the reality of what I did and I need you to forgive me so I can be ok.
But those kinds of apologies are burdensome. They ask the recipient of the apology to buy into some new la-la-land version of reality, to diminish their pain, to worry more about your feeling bad than the pain caused. That’s not ok.
Some things that happened to me were not ok. And it’s not my job to make people feel ok about what they did. It’s my job to accept what happened and learn to live with it.
And some things I did were not ok. And I have to live with that—without excuses, blaming, or justification. It is not ok. And it’s not fair for me to burden those I’ve hurt with my need to feel ok, to rewrite the past and basically rewrite me.
What we can do is sit in truth. Own it. All of it—what others did, what we did, what the world does. And let go of our need for things to be anything other than what they were and are. We can let go of our stories we accept as facts—the false beliefs about ourselves and our loved ones. And we can bring real meaning to our I’m sorry’s and let them really mean I accept reality and I am committed to doing better.
Just some things to think about, as one often does this time of year…