Most of us think, if we just had that apology from someone who has hurt us or done something we deem as wrong, then we’ll feel better.
Is that ever really true?
Of course, it’s lovely if someone takes responsibility for their words and actions, but what impact does it really have on our inner world?
Do we feel validated? Or that we weren’t nuts, thinking the other person’s behavior was out of line….what do we actually get that feeds us, if we’re already taking caring of ourselves?
Recently, I asked myself the question, “Do you need this apology?”
I’d received a text from someone who as of late last year, I’d stopped seeing after a very long on/off, “learned a lot about myself” kind of relationship.
The text was followed by a call; the voicemail he left, stated his desire to apologize for being the jackass in my life. (his words)
At first, I was caught off-guard, but then I asked…did I need his apology? What would it do for me? Uh….Nothing.
Not an angry ‘nothing‘….. more of a resolve for myself. I’m okay, I don’t hate him or feel he owes me anything. I’ve taken full responsibility for participating and allowing his behavior to have been a source of discontent…..or so… I thought.
I found myself in the days that followed with ‘scattered moments’ of a long past scene or a situation, playing out in my mind. Times I had forgotten about, and ones, in which, I’d left myself somewhere else. It was good they came up! I understood to a greater degree, where I was emotionally back then, why I’d been there and what kept me emotionally chained to something, which never really delivered…
I didn’t want to give him hell. I have no idea his current intentions. It doesn’t matter, because nothing he’d say has the power to remove what happened between us.
Back then, I’d lived in the land of potential, listening to promises and some kind of crazy hopeful expectations.
And now, I had awareness, understanding… I’d forgiven myself….and him. A long time ago.
Needing to have an apology from someone is secondary, when we take responsibility for our part.
Accountability is a personal thing, we cannot force others to show up how we want or wait for the day, when he or she wakes up and smell the coffee! NO ONE OWES US. And I mean, NO ONE.
Perhaps, in the movies a proclamation and an apology from the leading man to his beloved for his misbehaving seems to be the cure all to the emotional tension in the audience. We NEED that apology!
I’ve witnessed it when I’ve coached couples, one is waiting for that damn apology and the other may have given it a million times or be reticent to give it! If our mate has apologized so many times, what is it we actually want? What is going to fill that space inside that is clearly NOT taken care of with an apology? Why do we want to remain a victim to the story in our mind, which holds someone we love as the blame?
And if our mate refuses to cop to the responsibility, because of shame, or its a power struggle…what is really going on there?
We’re the ones to resolve our own feelings inside of us. When we wait or fingerpoint, it takes us away from the connection we have to our own power. Empowerment doesn’t come from an apology; it comes from within.
This doesn’t mean we should allow someone who loves us to treat us badly.
It means we have to take responsibility for being there (remaining there) in the first place. The excuses, the reasons and everything, which placed us in that relationship. When we understand the dance we do with someone else, which in the case of dysfunction, is to make sure, some of our less positive beliefs about ourselves are proven true…we’re then empowered enough to be set free….whether we get an apology or not.