Sorry. A little word with a big impact. Genuinely meant as an expression of remorse, it has the power to restore a relationship.
But how many times can someone say sorry before it becomes valueless?
If you have heard ‘Sorry’, once too often or worse still, don’t hear it all,then it’s time things changed.
‘How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.’ – Wayne Dyer
My damaging and dysfunctional childhood resulted in a complete lack of self-esteem and worth. So it wasn’t surprising that as an adult I found myself in a relationship where sorry was never spoken. In his world sorry was a sign of weakness and to preserve his perception of his superiority he would say or do anything but apologize.
It didn’t matter how abusive he became, it was always someone else’s fault. Actually it was nearly always my fault – I was too sensitive, too intense, too controlling, too critical. And even when I would feel brave enough to confront him about his name calling and put downs, I would be accused of having no sense humor. But believe me, there was nothing funny about the verbal abuse and his unreasonable demands.
Thankfully I started to challenge my own victim mentality and realized that although he wasn’t going to change, I could. Finding the courage to make the transition from victim to survivor, I learnt that the responsibility for my happiness lay with me. And I grasped a truth that was the catalyst for my healing - you can ‘t change other people and you can’t change the past. But you can choose how you react.
Of course I did want to hear ‘ I am sorry and I shouldn’t have behaved like that’ or ‘I won’t treat you like this again’ and ‘How can I make it up to you?’, but I didn’t need to hear any of it, in order for me to make a decision about my relationship.
For those of you who have the opposite experience of someone who apologizes all the time only to carry on hurting you time and time again, remember that ‘sorry’ can be the last thing they say before you walk away.
‘Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.’ – Maya Angelou
As I learned how to define my boundaries, and to hold others accountable (myself included) I realized that it was also important to maintain a sense of serenity whenever I was offended. For me, a peaceful soul keeps me joyful and positive whatever my circumstances.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, people do act thoughtlessly and cause harm. But a heartfelt apology from a place of love can heal the deepest wounds. Sometimes a simple ‘Sorry’ is enough, but you may require something more. Sincere remorse and a willingness to make amends are all steps to restoring trust and love.
Whatever is spoken or promised however, what really matters is how the person behaves afterwards. When it comes to apologizing, actions do speak louder than words.
‘Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble’ – French proverb
I love the gentleness of that statement and the sentiment of remembering the positive rather than the negative is how I would like others to view me. Nobody is perfect and when I mess up and say things I regret, I want to be able to say sorry and for my mistakes to be forgotten and forgiven.
When I say sorry it means I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. It means I didn’t intentionally want to cause offense and I want to make amends. It means I am hurting as much as you. and I don’t want either of us to feel that way again.
When I say ‘Sorry’ I mean it. Do you?
Huge thanks to Marianna Stauffer for allowing me to use her wonderful and inspiring artwork (May not be reproduced in any form without her permission.) Take a look at her other work here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/malorcka