Is It Too Late Now To Say Sorry?
Wednesday sucker punched me hard last week.
On a day that’s universally known for being the most sluggish day, Wednesday threw up even more obstacles that caused me to fall and land flat on my face. Yes- Wednesday won.
He didn’t do it all on his own though.
Recently, old wounds and past hurts have begun to re-emerge and wreak havoc on my emotions. I knew they had come back to haunt me when I woke up with a heavy heart and a crippling desire to stay in bed with the blanket pulled up over my head. Whenever my thoughts linger on the events that had hurt me, I end up becoming an emotional, angry wreck. Every time I’d try to seek help about it, all I heard were excuses and shrugged shoulders, which only served to make me feel more isolated.
I’m willing to bet that maybe there’s been an issue in your life that still has the power to trigger you and cause you to shut down. All you need to do is think about it for two seconds before you feel the wave of pain that causes you to question everything good in your life.
There is nothing more I want than for the issue to resolve itself and release its chokehold on my mind and my emotions. So it means that I have to become really honest and ask myself what resolution I’m truly seeking.
In a perfect world, I’d want for the pain to never have happened. I never would have become the collateral damage to another person’s lack of self-awareness or placed in a position where others had been hurt before.
Yet, I know that we can’t alter the past.
I don’t think we’ll ever get through life without collecting our share of scrapes and bruises along the way. Hurt people, hurt people. We’re all flawed human beings trying to live life with the best of intentions, but sometimes those intentions clash violently with others. I’m also a big believer that pain has to happen because it teaches us who we want to become. It highlights what our values really are and how we want to be treated. Pain, harnessed correctly, pushes us to become better, compassionate, people.
Since we can’t change the past or control the actions of others, what other resolution do we need?
At the start of last year, I sat across from someone who’d inadvertently wounded me with his lack of sensitivity. These wounds created a gaping distance between us, making it hard for me to return phone calls, answer messages or even look at him the same way again. The next time we had to sit face to face again, I knew he wanted an explanation for the distance I was putting between us. After a tense conversation, the only thing I could offer up in that moment was an apology. Yet from the way relief passed over his face, I knew it was what he’d been seeking all along.
I thought back to that encounter again as I sat mulling over what resolution I believed would release me from the pain others had caused me. People tell me all the time that forgiveness is necessary for us to release the hold on our burdens, yet it’s easier said than done- especially without an apology from the other person.
Apologies are powerful because it’s an acknowledgement that someone else’s actions, whether intentional or not, have hurt us. But it’s a daily, and even hourly, battle for me to accept that sometimes we will never ever get an apology from those who wounded us. People can leave our lives before they’re held to account for their actions. Others may be too prideful to see the effects of their actions. ‘I’m Sorry’ isn’t a phrase that’s easily uttered.
I know that so many of us are still carrying the wounds and burdens from interactions or situations that have hurt us beyond measure. Although it may have been months or even years ago since it first happened, our poorly bandaged cuts are still bleeding over the blessings of today.
Although it’s not on us to shoulder those burdens anymore, ‘letting go’ is an action that’s often done begrudgingly. Ideally, we’d all become people who know how to unclench our fists and forgive, irrespective of whether an apology is ever uttered. But for now, we’ll just have to settle for hearing other people acknowledge our pain.
You may never hear the words I’m sorry from the person that hurt you, but maybe just hearing it from someone else is the push you need to start your healing process.
I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has ever made you feel overlooked and undervalued. To be seen and known are basic human desires, but sometimes in the franticness of life, it can feel like people look straight past us. I want you to know that someone sees you and all that you’re doing to keep moving forward. Someone values all the ways you’re trying your best to show up and keep going.
I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has made you feel like you needed to become someone else in order to be accepted. I’m sorry if it’s made you feel like you’re not enough. In a world that worships celebrities and the ‘hustle’ mentality, it can look like the only way to gain respect is to become somebody who stands on platforms and wins accolades. Yet there are people who have won all the awards who still feel empty inside. Know that you’re already significant as you are. You don’t have to ‘become important’ to gain the right person’s approval. You’re already dripping with so much gold and value, it’s insane.
I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has ever made you feel small. Some people won’t be able to handle every vibrant, charismatic, larger-than-life encounter that you bring to this world, but that doesn’t mean you have to reduce yourself to fit their expectations. I heard Jim Caveziel say in an interview once that we are not called to fit in but made to stand out. That’s now the encouragement I give to anyone who feels like the odd one out. You were not created to fit into someone else’s mold but to break barriers and exceed expectations. You are allowed to take up space in this world.
I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has made you feel like you weren’t worth staying for. People will leave your life for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with you. This is life’s way of filtering out those who scare easily. Soon we’ll be able to cherish the people who know how to honour their commitments.
I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has caused you shame or made you feel like you’re too broken to be fixed. We are all forever a work in progress, but that is something to be celebrated- not condemned. Spoiler alert: you’re never too broken beyond repair. It may take extra time and extra tools from the shed but being fully healed from your pain is something that can happen for you.
I’m sorry on behalf of anyone who has ever uttered words about you that are untrue and a false reflection of who you really are. People will harbour all sorts of opinions about you but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the things you’re passionate about or making choices that will push you closer to your goal. Don’t let someone who barely knows anything about you, shape your perception of yourself.
I could go on for pages and pages and it still wouldn’t begin to scrape the surface of all the hurt that we’re seeking an apology for. It’s ok if you only felt temporary relief before anger overwhelmed you again. Like all journeys, the road to becoming a better person is made up of baby steps and the occasional stop for directions. You may need to repeat these apologies to yourself a few more times or continue to ask for help, but the fact that you’re here and you’re trying, is testament to the courage that’s running through your veins.
Above all, keep showing up to your life, keep pressing forward, and keep being yourself irrespective of who does or doesn’t acknowledge their wrongdoing towards you. We can never seek to control the actions of others, but we can control how we let go of the pain and how we treat other people.
Encouraging you always,
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