If someone stuck her foot out as I walked by causing me to fall to the ground, I know my job is to love that person. I love her because she is clearly hurting and lashing out. If I were to respond with anger I fuel her fire. She might then feel justified to go on and hurt more people.
As a Messenger of Love, my best reaction is to be loving so I may lessen her hurt. That way she may hurt less and then hurt others less.
Sometimes I am not that gracious and instead get offended. I want the other person to acknowledge my hurt and admit they were wrong. I can get lost in this holding pattern of waiting for the other person to own their mistake.
I can’t let myself get stuck feeling hurt and needing the other person to say I’m sorry.
Because then I want/expect/deserve an apology from someone who refuses to give it. I become sad or angry and tell myself the other person doesn’t care that their actions led to my hurt.
I have to I remind myself that I made the choice to be hurt. And if I need them to apologize before I can feel ok, then I am giving my power away.
I can use the incident as a lesson for me that not everyone is going to do what I want– even when I ask nicely.
On the flip side, I am trying to apologize more frequently.
Love means saying you’re sorry even when you don’t feel sorry. Love means saying you’re sorry even when you know you’re 100% right.
Withholding apologies is ego talking. It’s the part of me that wants to be right and wants the other person to acknowledge I’m right. Refusing to apologize rubs salt in the wound adding more hurt to the situation.
Withholding apologies creates a barrier that blocks love and connection.
An apology says I’m sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry for my role in your hurt. I’m sorry for your belief that my action caused you hurt.
An apology says I care.
An apology says I want you to feel better and I want us to be more connected.
I care about you and if an apology will make you feel better I will give it. And I will give it gladly.
Women have been stereotyped as over-apologizing. I think of the lone woman in the conference room who prefaces every statement with an “I’m sorry.” That’s a self-diminishing apology and not the kind I am talking about.
I’m talking about the apology fueled by love. The apology that lifts up both the giver and the receiver.
There are three parts to a good apology:
- State the action that led to the hurt.
- Acknowledge the impact. When I apologize I look the other person in the eyes. After I’ve described the hurt my actions caused, I ask the other person if I got it right or if there are more details to the hurt.
- I promise to do my best to not let it happen again.
Have you given your power away to someone by expecting an apology? How can you release yourself from needing them to do something before you feel ok? Please comment below and share this article with people who may find it helpful, interesting or inspiring. Thank you.