Apologies. I am pretty good at knowing when to give one. In my life, I have apologized… a lot. I am not proud of this. Every apology came from my heart which was laden with grief. I know when I hurt someone. It is almost like I can feel their pain, annoyance or anger. With each apology I truly wish to salve the emotional wound for them and me. With each apology, I hope for forgiveness. This whole self-awareness thing is hard, but rewarding.
Apologies are an important ingredient within the social structure. We are appalled when one is lacking, or if when one is made, it is not quite what we needed. I have made many, but received few. So, with this ability to apologize I have also been sharpening this thing called forgiveness. Apologies and forgiveness goes together like peas and carrots, or Forrest and Jenny. I find my anxiety can be squashed by this comforting duo. Lately I have learned to allow them into my past life to help heal some old stuff, circa late 60’s and all through the 70’s. The growing up years.
Facebook has been a great way to reach out to some of the people I treated poorly in those early years and so far, no one has told me to go to hell. I think it helped me to say to them how this teenager, who was so angry lashed out in hurtful ways, and now like a loving adult, I sort of present this troubled kid and say, “She is really sorry for the pain she may have caused, but she gets it now and wants you to please forgive her.”
I have written letters in the same manner and asked for forgiveness. But those are the ones from the past. These days I apologize in real time! I cannot imagine going a full day knowing I have made a mistake without trying to rectify it. So, my question is, when someone hurts me in some way (and I could name about two dozen right here but I won’t) why is there no apology or recognition of my feelings? It is so very rare. In the last two years, the people who have been so quick to apologize, really didn’t harm me in any way. One of my co-workers came to me and said they owed me an apology and was feeling worried they had crossed some kind of line in our conversation from the previous day. I couldn’t remember what it was we had even talked about and they were so relieved. I felt happy to be able to ease their mind and heart and at the same time I felt cared for and honored.
I had a crazy situation happen not too long ago where I was threatened, ridiculed and judged so completely wrong that I am still perplexed at this person’s ability to love another human being. If they brought this type of hatred to a small table, dealing with me, a person in service to them, I cannot imagine how cruel and dark they are to those closest to them. I remember thinking, right after the attack, if this person will somehow come to the realization that they were wrong about me, and that telling me I was worthless hurt deeply and maybe they would apologize for their words.
Hasn’t happened yet. Funny thing is that a phone call is what it took to cause a load of pain, a phone call would ease it.
But, apologies are more for the trespasser than the trespassed. I have written that incident off as, that person is mean and hateful, and I need to FORGIVE them!
Forgiving is harder for me than asking for forgiveness. Which is probably why God, Life, the Universe, sends me so much to forgive. It is my weakness. Once crossed, I find it hard to forgive, not impossible as I do have many forgiving victories, but it is never easy. Disliking someone is VERY easy. What is wrong with that picture?
When I applied for my job as district counselor, I was asked this question: “what is the one thing you can say about yourself that would give you success in this job?” I said, “I am very self-aware: I know how to interact, I can read a situation, I learn from my mistakes, I can admit when I am wrong and I am not afraid to apologize.” The second question was, “What could keep you from doing a good job here?” I said, “I have never held a counseling position, I need to learn everything….but I am aware of that!”
I got the job.
I think that is true in life. We learn from our mistakes, we grow, we change, and the cycle continues. I think the person who was super-mean to me is missing the blessing of a soft heart. As I continue to completely forgive them, I am blessed with the struggle that comes with personal growth. Maybe when I reach level five, self-actualiztion, upon hearing a judgement I will immediately forgive their hardened heart, and stunted nature, because the truth is hatred like that does not live in the light of love.
As I write this I offer my open heart to anyone who holds me in a moment of social contempt. Forgive me, I really am trying to get life right.