Sometimes the hardest words for us to release from our lips are “I’m sorry”. Why is this though? With these two simple words, hearts can be mended, hurt repaired, and yucky feelings dissolved. We all know this, yet it somehow seems easier to hold onto that resentment and hurt and continue to harbor negative feelings toward another person. But Why?
Often, our knee-jerk response to this ‘why’ is that we’re angry and we want that other person to know how angry we are. That anger, though, is a cover-up for our true feelings – hurt/shame/pain/disappointment/etc. Admitting to and embracing these true feelings is uncomfortable and doesn’t feel good so our natural response is to shroud them with anger and resentment. This covering leads us to feel less vulnerable and somehow a stronger person but are we really all that much stronger when we hold onto so much negativity?
Stop for a second and think about the last time that you did something to someone else that you truly did want to apologize for yet you wouldn’t allow yourself to utter those two words of ‘I’m sorry’. What emotions and feelings coursed through your body? Sadness? Shame? Hurt? Pain? None of these feel good and often cause us to become consumed by this negativity – spending countless hours replaying the incident over and over in our head and wishing that the right moment would come along so that we could move past all of this. That ‘right moment’ never seems to come, does it? As painful and uncomfortable as it is, we are the only ones that can create that moment and allow for the healing to start.
So now what? Well, you hold the answer to your next move. Ask yourself what it is that you genuinely want. Do you want to continue trudging through the day thinking about how much you want to apologize yet continue to harbor these negative feelings? Or, do you yearn to release these yucky feelings and get back to a place of happiness and positivity? My hope is that you’re opting for the second option.
First and foremost, acknowledge and embrace the fact that you’re feeling hurt. It’s not anger, it’s hurt – shame/sadness/disappointment/pain – it’s all hurt. Once you’re able to truly embrace this, then you are ready to release it. Recognize that the feelings of negativity do not have the power to control your actions; you, and only you, have that power. Reflect on those feelings, examine what may have caused those feelings to bubble to the surface, and think about what you want to change. Now take action. Release those negative feelings into the universe and allow yourself to start the healing process.
Before you reach for your phone to contact that other person, stop and focus on you. Give yourself a big hug and apologize to yourself. Making mistakes is all part of this big game called life and going through rough times in a relationship are an essential piece of healthy interactions. Once you’ve ‘loved it out’ with yourself, give that other person a holler. Get together for a coffee, grab a bite to eat, go for a walk, or simply chat over the phone. Regardless of the setting, be your authentic self and tell that person what you’re truly feeling and what you genuinely want to say to him or her. Embrace the discomfort and vulnerability and trust that you will come out on the other side with a feeling of relief as this is the final step in releasing that pent up negativity.
Saying “I’m sorry” is so much more that uttering those two simple words. It involves a true exploration of self, identifying and embracing the raw feelings, and then releasing those negative feelings. Apologizing to yourself is just as important, if not more so, than apologizing to that other person. The end result, though, is a return to happiness and self-appreciation. The journey can feel rough, but the road does get easier the more it’s used. Yes, sometimes stating the words “I’m sorry” can feel like the hardest words to say. Getting those two words out, though, will open a door to freedom from negativity.