In 1970 the classic movie “Love Story” came out with one of the most memorable phrases, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. But does it?
In a perfect World where everyone has unconditional love for one another, you might be able to say this is true. But even in this scenario where everyone would love each other unconditionally no matter what the offense, would we still not need to say we are sorry, even if, for no other reason, but to heal ourselves from the guilt of hurting another? What about the other person, who still loves us just the same as before the blunder, would they not need to know that we are remorseful?
An apology is meant, not only for the person receiving it, but also, for the person giving it. Once accepted, it’s a way to heal the pain for both parties, so that the door can be closed, or rather more accurately…reopened, and both people can let the issue go. A sincere apology has the power to restore trust, mend relationships, and heal broken hearts, as well as restore dignity and respect, not to mention, putting the skids on many lawsuits.
When an apology has not been offered or accepted, it creates distance and avoidance; this enormous wall of negative energy and separation between you, causing both parties to avoid the other. The offended party feels they have lost their faith and trust in the other, along with trust in their own judgment, for having trusted them in the first place. The offender, on the other hand, is dealing with guilt and shame, for having let the other down. But what is even more offensive is when someone becomes a serial offender, and keeps apologizing, and recommitting the same offense over and over.
No matter what a couple is arguing about, the underlying issue is always about attachment. Dr. Sue JohnsonIt doesn’t matter what age you are, or whether you are a man or a woman, one basic, but intense emotional need that everyone has is attachment and connection. The need to feel you matter, your needs matter, you are respected, and that your need for attachment and connection is safe and sound with others.
The more times we have been hurt in our lives, from the time we are born, we begin to become, and learn to be fearful, and feel vulnerable, exposing our needs to others. We commence building defense mechanisms to cope, and protect ourselves. But the reality of it is, all of us fear being abandoned, of not fitting in, or being wanted, and of not being loved anymore, and we all need love and connection, attempting the best way we know how, to achieve it.
As children we learn to start shielding our true selves, after all, when you are being yourself, you end up doing something unacceptable to our caretakers, and then punished. One of the very first words we learn is “No.” Most of us were to be seen and not heard, as children, so our identities are once again suppressed, and unacceptable. Then when we express our emotions through words, facial expressions, and behavior, we are sent to our rooms with the command, “Go to your room, not another word,” leading us to believe that what we say and feel is of no significance. We are taught to hide and suppress our emotions, so we stuff them down…one on top of the other.
We all need reassurance, and to know that we are listened to, and heard, that what we say and feel matters, and validated. But on the same token, out of the fear of abandonment, being judged/shamed, undeserving, and having learned to restrain ourselves; we keep many of our emotions, and emotional needs concealed from the World, especially the people we are trying, or have formed intimate relationships with. Then when we become angry, out of an attachment fear, we carry on about some other insignificant crap, which has no bearing what so ever, on what we really want or need, and then wonder why they aren’t mind readers, and lovingly trying to give us what we need, want, and are yearning for so desperately.
Sometimes we don’t even know what we are angry about. Our reaction in the here and now, rarely has everything to do with the here and now, but is actually triggered from a former experience, which our mind conceives of as being the same, and that is what we are responding to. We are rarely angry, or upset for the reason we think we are. So when we become angry or upset, although it may have been triggered by the other person, or situation, it has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with you, and some former unresolved issue within you.
If we remember this about ourselves, and take notice, there is so much to be learned about ourselves, and on the same token, if you know this about the other person, there is so much to learn about them, if we just listen with our hearts, and observe. There can be no blame, only knowledge, and a valuable opportunity to look within, and resolve the unresolved, and heal the past, so that the same issue will not keep revisiting and haunting your life.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools to heal yourself; forgiveness for both yourself and those that have hurt you, whether unintentionally through reacting to their own baggage, or intentionally, even then through their own baggage that they have not healed, or you hurting them reacting through the same filters or similar filters.
I think that forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It embraces the child’s heart, which is always ready to risk for a better moment and give up the hurt of the last one. Forgiveness is an innocent place where your hurt and pain does not have the final word. Yet there is little wisdom or strength that has more power to transform the world than the courage to bear witness to your pain and let go of it. Wendy StrgarAll those slamming doors, and angry accusatory, and defensive words, stemming from hurt, and trying to hold onto whatever it is that you feel you are about to loose, so many times, have absolutely nothing to do with what is really going on.
Anger stems from fear and hurt, and listening has to come from the heart, and not the ears. Usually we are planning our response, defense, and assessing our own reaction, that we don't hear what the person is really trying to say. The real issue isn't that you didn't take out the garbage, yet again, or you didn't call when you said you would, etc., the real issue lies in your fear of loosing something that you are attached to, whether it is a value, respect, identity, love, acceptance, person, thing. Listen for what they are afraid of loosing.
If we learn to stop spending time in an argument trying to declare who is right and who is wrong…blaming and winning, and instead talk about how we are feeling, and taking the responsibility for our part in the problem, realizing that we are all coming from a place where we are seeking acceptance, and our need for attachment, every argument can transform into a learning, bonding experience.
I'll fill you in on a little known secret: couples that don't ever fight eventually don't have sex either. Why? They are both forms of passion. If you give up one form of intensity you'll ultimately leave the other as well. Dr. Rob Dobrenski"The Perfect Apology"
"The Clean Slate Method"