Sorry Is The Easiest Word..
In previous posts, I’ve touched upon the meaning of forgiveness and the importance of ultimately forgiving yourself, instead of busting a gut to speed up your grieving and healing to forgive someone else. What I find fascinating about situations where people have encountered someone, who at best took advantage and at worst abused them, is how ‘sorry’ is supposed to be a word that expresses regret and an apology. Sometimes, it is just another way of pressing the Reset Button.
Much like giving, ‘sorry’ isn’t something that you say with expectations of what the other person should think, feel or do as a result of it. I don’t say sorry unless I mean it. I also don’t take it as my right to assume that it should be “Ta Da! Everything is forgotten!” For minor things, it can be relatively easy to snap back to ‘normal’ but otherwise, it takes more than the few seconds it takes to utter ‘sorry’ to overcome these situations.
Being genuinely sorry is actually remembering what the hell you did and having enough genuine regret to sincerely endeavour not to repeat the very thing you know has caused distress or even great hurt.
Some people pay lip service to apologies and just throw them around, in much the same way that they might be loose with declarations of feelings that they can’t back up with actions. Much like love, sorry is an action feeling. It is not just something that you say, it has to be reflected in your actions. I would seriously question how sorry someone is, when they apologise in one breath and in the next, attempt to bust boundaries again.
When someone is on your back to apologise to you, or for you to accept the apology, that doesn’t actually mean that they’re sorry. What it really means is, “Look, hurry up and accept my apology so I can stop feeling bad about it. You perceiving me as wronging/hurting/abusing/whatever you is terribly inconvenient and my ego doesn’t like the pinch of reality. So, if you don’t mind, get a shuffle on, accept my apology and let’s move on so I can slam my palm down on the Reset Button.”
When certain types of people badger you to be ‘friends’ and badger you to accept their apology, it’s more because they’re not confident enough in their own integrity to believe they can ‘get’ your friendship or your forgiveness without manipulating you to some degree. If you treat someone well in a relationship, odds are that even when you break up, once hearts are mended and you’re both in neutral territory, there’s a possibility for friendship. You don’t assume that it’s your God given right and you certainly shouldn’t feel entitled to push for a pseudo friendship so you can have a foot in the door for an ego stroke, shag, armchair psychologist or a shoulder to cry on.
And so it goes with the person that tries to badger, railroad and guilt you into accepting their so-called apology. That reads like “Here’s my apology packaged up in a load of guilt and shame that I’m now putting on you”. The worst thing is, that if you have low self-esteem and tend to look for validation, this is the type of thing that does a number on you. You may get distracted from the actual issue and the focus becomes making them feel better about the fact that you’re not ‘over’ whatever the problem was. So the scenario shifts to one of, “Oh I’m sorry that I’m still hurt and that I’m hurting your feelings! There, there now. Let me make it all better for you and invalidate my own feelings so I can validate your gargantuan ego“
I think you know how this one plays out.
If you’re pissed off, furious, hurt or whatever you’re feeling, those are your feelings and you have a right to them. True, they may not be convenient for the other person, but if your apology hunter is that hung up on not feeling inconvenienced, it might help if they didn’t hurt you in the first place.
It’s not about bearing grudges. It is more an acknowledgment that some things can’t be brushed off with with an apology. Many cheaters for example, love saying they’re ‘sorry’ but they’re regretting being caught, regretting that their image has been crushed or are eager for the deception to be forgotten about.
This is why I stress the importance of living and dating with your self-esteem fully intact and having healthy boundaries; where you register your discomfort and validate your own feelings and judgement. When you know the line, they know the line, so you won’t allow someone to not only press the Reset Button but to pull the same stunt time and again.
Sometimes, it takes a while to process an experience and to work out what happened. This is why you can’t just cast aside your own feelings for the convenience of someone else’s ego. Often, the very people who do pseudo apologies don’t genuinely empathise with you and don’t recognise how you may be feeling in your position or what they did to impact you.
Sorry takes many forms. For those of you struggling in barely there relationships, you’ll know someone is truly sorry and that they ‘get it’ when they finally leave you alone. We want to believe that people have changed or at the very least feel deep regret when they say they’re sorry. However, maybe one of the biggest things to learn is that, much like they can’t expect you to soothe their ego, you can’t assume that sorry is a precursor to a changed person.