“I’m sorry”. I’ve said it many times, most of us have said it at some point and some of us say it at the very first moment of confrontation. But what does saying “I’m sorry” really mean if we aren’t sorry. What do we do if we’re really not sorry. What if someone feels we owe them an apology and we believe one is not warranted? Then what?
Some of us feel compelled to apologize every time we are accused of making a mistake, being inconsiderate or even ignoring another person’s demand that THEY be our top priority.
There are times when it is entirely appropriate to make our own needs, our own feelings, our own boundaries be our own top priority. Sometimes we’re simply enjoying our lives. Do we really have to feel ashamed of being true to ourselves.
An unwarranted sense of shame is a heavy burden to bare and it can compel us to apologize for simply being ourselves. What do we say when “I’m NOT sorry”, is what we want to say? For me, the best approach to this conflict is to offer a compromise or a truce.
Sometimes a very general “apology” acknowledges other people’s feelings even though we believe we did nothing wrong. Since most fair minded people realize that any given situation can have many interpretations, we might say, “I’m sorry we disagree about that, but I needed to do what was right for me at the time, if I hurt you, it was not my intension”. I hope you can understand my reasons for acting like that.
Once we make this type of an apology, the conversation may lead to either further explanation of motives and interpretations or simply an agreement to disagree. If someone chooses not to accept our “modified apology”, it is now their issue, their responsibility to address their personal motives and interpretations. Not every body thinks alike. Since we can’t control what other people think, now we can walk away from such a conflict with a clear conscience.
When we are honest with ourselves about our motives, we intuitively know when it’s time to say we’re sorry and when it’s not. I try to take responsibility for my actions and nobody else’s. My inner voice helps me decide when and what kind of apology to offer and when it is not my responsibility.
Quiet your mind, listen to your inner voice and do the right thing.
Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Just don’t say it mean.
Remember to push the pause button.