“Say you’re sorry!” I hear myself telling a student in the school yard at recess after they have been mean to a peer.
“Sorry.” he utters with a voice emitting remorse.
“It’s ok.” the other boy says with a smile that screams my feelings have been validated!
Just like that, the two children scamper off and continue enjoying their playtime.
Something so simple seems to be not so simple at all. Children seem to have an easier time apologizing for bad behaviour once you bring it to their attention or they have the misfortune of getting caught in the act. Adults, not so much.
Ever waited for an apology that you wanted? An apology that was deserved? An apology that would have smoothed the sharp edges of a fight/misunderstanding/miscommunication? Yeah…me too. It felt bad not getting it. It caused frustration, anger and confusion. For me, it led to all kinds of questions about love and loyalty.
Years went by and my apology never came. Tired of waiting and wishing and wondering, I was at a crossroads. I needed to decide whether the relationship with the non-apologizer(s) would continue or disintegrate. I could bury my heels in the sand and continue holding out or I could make the decision to accept an apology I never got for the sake of the relationship and more importantly, my sanity!
Rather than continue to feel like a victim in the situation, I chose to dig deep and ask myself what I wanted in light of the fact that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted. This change in perspective helped me to feel in control and feeling in control is empowering.
I chose to continue the relationship despite the no apology. Although the relationship of which I speak will never be what it was, the fact that I am no longer who I was when I began hoping for the apology is the most beautiful blessing I received from the non-apologizers. The introspection I underwent was the impetus behind tremendous growth of which I am stupendously proud of.
It’s funny how the universe works. We tend to question why things happened as they did. We tend to want answers that we often never get. I have learned to ask, “what can this teach me?” rather than “why did this happen to me?” Looking back, I am able to extract a life lesson or two from all the sh*t I had to go through. Those lessons all helped to shape who I am today and I’m really fond of that woman!
If you happen to be in a similar situation where you find yourself waiting for an apology, I nudge you to remove the focus from ‘them’ and put it onto you. Ask yourself what you want…what you need and move forward with whatever you decide with confidence and power.
As my beloved mother in law would always say, “Set your sights forward – always forward.”