Accepting Apologies You Never Got

My friend Jackie posted this to my wall yesterday:

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” ~ Robert Brault

Did somebody ever give you just the right perspective at just the right moment?  The planets aligned and the sun rays came flooding in and you shake your sleepy head and wake up.  You realize something you already knew and had the power to do was with you all along.

All Sunday evening and on and off through Monday while a frankenstorm named Hurricane Sandy churned off of the coast, I started blogs and deleted them.  Blogs that I wanted to use to get some things off of my chest.  Blogs that started out nice but ended up as rants and blaming.  Blogs I kept writing and erasing.

Have you ever had a cycle like that?  It’s good sometimes to go ahead and journal such things just to get them out, but not publicly.  It’s good sometimes to even write a letter to the person you feel upset with or misunderstood by – and fold it up and never send it.

I was already aware of this advice, only stated a different way through visualization.  Where you imagine a person apologizing to you and you accepting it.  Or if you feel you owe somebody an apology – even if they aren’t alive, or choose not to speak to you – the idea is that you imagine the whole thing, apologize, imagine them accepting it and that the energy is somehow projected into the universe.

I think sometimes we hang onto pain we feel when we believe we are “wronged” – because we don’t really want to forgive.  We want to be mad at them.  Then suddenly everything you once shared in common or that you liked about them, becomes something now ruined or something you dislike.

(Hate isn’t really what I felt, but this card sort of touched on what I mean.)

I think when the other person is blaming us, it’s harder to forgive them because we feel wronged.   I think that’s the place I have been stuck in.  Where I resented being blamed for something I don’t believe in my heart that I did and also, not fully understanding my “offenses.”  I resented being – as I saw it – willfully misunderstood, accused and vilified so I chose to hang onto that resentment and anger.  The negative feelings the whole situation created – that person hates you, so now you feel like you have to hate them too.  Even though hate is a strong word, and not the right word for what I felt.

This little post on my wall of this simple quote about accepting an apology along with the perfect timing of it snapped me back into reality.  It was a rope into a hole of resentment that I dug for myself.  It has been deep and shallow at various times.  Sometimes shoveling dirt back in, not wanting to dig a hole.  Sometimes having one of those days where I dig and dig.  Deep enough to need a rope, but not deep enough to bury me.

In part, I guess I’d held out hope that I would get an apology of some kind.  Knowing that the person even could acknowledge that I deserved one would have been very healing for me. Sometimes those apologies never come.  In fact, sometimes even if they do come, you don’t heal because you spin in your resentment for what happened.  In either case, the matter of healing is in your own hands, whether you get the apology or not.

If an apology is what would have healed you, then imagine you got one.  And accept it.  Even if you can’t right away.  It’s a tool you can use, when you’re ready.  To help you let go.  To help you move on.

I watched The Secret Life of Bees yesterday.  It was a great movie.  I also truly appreciated the artistry of the set, props and period costumes.

That movie was also a motivating factor in this blog entry.  I want to keep a mind about bee yard etiquette.

“I hadn’t been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called ‘bee yard etiquette’.  She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee’s temper. Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Above all, send the bees love.  Every little thing wants to be loved.” – Sue Monk Kidd

10 responses to “Accepting Apologies You Never Got

  1. I admire not just your insights here about what we hold onto that holds us back, but most especially your generosity of spirit. To forgive someone who doesn’t forgive you, and doesn’t even want your forgiveness, is to understand love, to see the self in others, and to recognize your own role in determining what is real.

  2. I’m not 100% there on my forgiving or accepting, but each time I imagine it, it feels more real. I’m a little out of practice with my visualization, which is a shame because it really is a very powerful tool!

  3. I’ve always been of the opinion that if someone doesn’t apologize they really aren’t sorry for it. If I worry about how others try to hurt me I won’t ever be able to focus on myself and get myself where I need to be. If someone respects me and treats me well they get my undying love and devotion, which isn’t something that I give away freely… it’s worth my weight in gold. That goes for all types of relationships with me. It is hard, when you feel that someone you trusted and loved has hurt and wronged you, to move on. Dwelling on it, though, does nothing but let you hurt yourself. Feel for the situation. Get angry, get the tears out, and eventually you will laugh and think “what an idiot they were… I’m awesome and they didn’t know what to do with me.” I don’t accept an apology I didn’t get. I don’t care for the apology. The experience taught me so much more than an apology was worth. An apology would only diminish that learning experience.

    • I think one of your superpowers Relynn is that you can approach things from a very logical standpoint and slough off the dead weight without much concern. You can lead with your head most of the time. It means you can heal quicker – like Wolverine or something :D

      I have to find a lot of strategies because I tend to lead with my heart. Even when I know that’s bad for me, I can’t help it so I have to work hard at the logic and find tools for the healing.

      You are totally right – sometimes folks just aren’t worth it.

  4. Thank you, Heather. I tend to think that because my life experiences gave my “leading with my heart” a real trip through the wringer I came out hardened and jaded. Which, honestly, I have. But I never gave up the last of the secrets in my own Pandora’s box of feelings… hope. I lead with my head, but hope with my heart. Thus, I think and feel, if that makes any sense.

  5. I also feel that my life has lead me to take full ownership of my experiences, good or bad. So, even if people hurt me, I own it. It is my choice to be a victim or not, and if I am victimized it relinquishes my ownership on my experience.

  6. I have a real resistance to becoming jaded. However, I must admit what I finally admitted to Will the other day – that my trust, I think, is permanently damaged after what happened with me last year.

    It’s not like I will never trust anybody again in any way, but my trust is damaged. I feel a wall where there wasn’t one before. I trusted somebody was telling me the truth, then found out not only were they not telling me the truth, they blamed me and even accused me of taking advantage of them. I have had a hard time getting past all of it because I tend to stay stuck where I left off. If the last thing a person did to me was call me a liar and a cunt – then that is where I am stuck with them unless I do something about it. Does that make sense?

  7. Totally makes sense. I used to be that way, too. Stuck that is. One day I realized, though, that thought process was keeping me stuck in a cycle of repetitive stasis. When I came to terms with that I was able to let it go and not get stuck like that anymore… well, for the most part. It is REALLY hard to move past a deep injury but it can be done. Looking at it analytically does help to facilitate it. Feelings are valid and should be involved in all aspects, but sometimes your heart has to trust your head to get you out of a mess your heart can’t get you out of. Time is irrelevant. It took me over a decade to come to terms and actually move past the acute pain of grief from the loss of my father. It took me years to get past my first broken heart. It took me years to address the hurt that Bill had given me, and the hurt I had given him at one point and we are working on moving past it still. I feel through it all, but I trust my head to get me out of it in one piece. Yes, trust can be damaged. You will trust again. It’s not gone forever. My trust has been damaged so many times, and it’s never been broken beyond repair. I still trust people that I think I can trust, until proven otherwise. When I’m proven otherwise it hurts, but I know not everyone is like that, so I trust again at some point.

  8. I’ll try to have faith that my sort of usual open trusting vulnerability will return, as it is one of the things people really responded to in me.

    I think also, Imago therapy helped in healing the wounds Will and I had inflicted on ourselves. You can really REALLY want to get past something – to the point you keep saying, “I wish that hadn’t happened” or “I wish I could go back and undo it” — but because we worked so hard to heal and because we took the Imago which helped us get deeper into each other by process, I no longer find myself wishing for impossible things like that.

    I do hope in time that I will be as open as I once was, but so far it hasn’t happened.

    Sorry about your daddy. That must have been rough. ((HUGS))

  9. Pingback: One Map With The Directions Through Hell « Everyone Has A Story

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