Throughout the course of our lifetime, we offer up numerous apologies, but my question today is why?
From Dictionary.com, we have the following definition, but does it really tell us why?
a·pol·o·gy[uh-pol-uh-jee] Show IPA
1.a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another: He demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook.
verb (used with object)
Typically, we offer an apology because we believe that we have said or done something to offend or wrong another in some way. But when we apologize, what is our ultimate goal? Is it to receive absolution from the offended party? Is it to be granted forgiveness? Is it a meaningless gesture? Or is it just a selfish way to get something off our chest?
In the case of absolution or forgiveness, as those really only belong to ourselves, so offering someone an apology may start the process, but in order to truly be forgiven, we need to forgive ourselves for our transgressions.
Is it a meaningless gesture? Only if it is insincere. I see nothing wrong with saying "mea culpa" nor in indicating that you made a mistake and are learning from it, as long as you truly do take the lesson with you. In many cases, the apology can clear the air after something has occurred which causes tension between two individuals, so I believe offering an apology does have value.
Which leads to my last suggestion. Is it a selfish way to just absolve ourselves? Once again, I have to say, if it is sincere, the answer would be no, but to give lip service just to make yourself feel better is, in my opinion unconscionable. It's like saying " I'm so sorry I stabbed you in the back...but I'd do it again in a New York minute given half a chance, loser!"
So let's look at the concept of forgiveness. Referring again to Dictionary.com, we get:
for·give[fer-giv] Show IPA verb, for·gave, for·giv·en, for·giv·ing.
1.to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2.to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3.to grant pardon to (a person).
4.to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.
It's all well and fine to have someone grant you pardon or accept your apology. but until such time as you absolve YOURSELF of the misdeed, you will continue to live as if absolution from the more obviously injured party had never occurred.
I say the "more obviously injured party" for a reason. When we say something unkind or break something belonging to another, or do any manner of apology worthy deeds, there are two injured parties, as opposed to the one we most often give our attention to. In reality, we've hurt ourselves as well, on many levels. As soon as the deed is done and we realize what we've done and begin to have regrets, we start beating ourselves up over it. Even after we have apologized and our apology is accepted, we are still not absolved because the most important person in our lives; ourself, has failed to accept our apology!
That's right! Until such time as we acknowledge to ourselves that we made a mistake but it's ok, our misdeed will continue to come back and haunt us. Many of us are carrying around quite a few years of unforgiven deeds. Some have buried themselves so deeply that a jackhammer couldn't dig them out, nor could an army of earth movers!
And yet, three simple words to ourselves would bring us back to the surface, clean and shiny. Those three words are:
"I forgive you".
We must look ourselves in the eye and say: "I forgive you for every misdeed, every transgression, every hurt, whether real or perceived, which you have ever done. I love you and cherish you and wish you no harm. I understand that by carrying around the resentment and blame, I am not showing loving behaviour. So from this point forward, I love you and forgive you."
And why not? We love and forgive our kids, our friends, our significant others. Why can't we give the same to ourselves? Why must we spend more time beating ourselves up than loving the wonderful caring, giving, amazing person we are?
I, myself, focus on self-love and forgiveness just about every time I meditate. I recommend it highly!
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a fun, joy-filled evening of dance with my friends.
2. I am grateful for ideas which make me think.
3. I am grateful for having forgiven myself and set the pattern to forgive myself in the future.
4. I am grateful for the beginning of week 2 of sticking to my gym schedule (in spite of numerous aches and pains in places I didn't know I COULD have aches and pains!)
5. I am grateful for encouragement, wherever and however it might come.
Love and light.