I’m Sorry

Ciao Amica Mia,

Here in Arizona temperatures are rising. Along with my internal thermometer and my irritability factor.
Clearly as I advise you, I need to get a hold of myself. Apparently, I’m overdue for a Pita check-in, a hike in the woods and some cooling pranayama practices.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve hit a new record of apologies. I seem to be simultaneously the good yogi and the bad bitch from hell. Just like in the movie, Fast and Furious, I can go from zero to sixty.
As a result, I’ve been contemplating “how” I apologize. For instance, do I say I’m sorry because I want to move on quickly and get to other things that hold my attention? Or do I really mean it?
I admit that sometimes, not always, maybe a teeny-weeny bit of the time, I “but” all over myself. You know what I’m talking about, the “I’m sorry, but…” apology. And surely, we know the B word totally negates everything we’ve said before the “but”.
Some of us are “score keepers” of apologies. It goes something like, “I’ve said I was sorry the last three times, and I didn’t even start the argument.” Or, “he was such a jerk in how he talked to me, so I’m not speaking to him until he say’s he’s sorry.”
The simple truth is, we as a society, have never been given instruction on how to apologize in ways that are healing for all parties involved. We’re more comfortable assigning blame and “passing the buck”.
Why? Because it’s our vulnerable tender hearts and egos that often shuts the door on a meaningful apology. And the opportunity to learn something more about ourselves and the person we find our self in conflict with.
I believe it’s especially important that we learn how to sincerely apologize and take responsibility for our part in an argument; without having an underlying agenda, so that a tear in the fabric of the relationship isn’t irreparably severed.
When we pass blame, insist on having the last word, shut the door to hearing another’s point of view we only succeed in distancing ourselves even further.
A sincere apology without expectation of receiving one back is not easy. But it is a learned pose; just like down dog. If we hang onto anger, we hang onto the notion that we’re right and the other person is wrong. That thinking is a trap.
If we hold onto and swallow an apology, we’re really hurting ourselves, not the other person.
According to Dr. Harriet Lerner, renowned author and clinical psychologist, “no apology has meaning if we haven’t been able to put our defensiveness aside and really listen.”
So, I suggest the next time you find yourself in a situation where an apology is appropriate first give yourself a little space to regroup. Then try offering an apology freely. And notice how your breath smooths out, the tension in your jaw releases, and the space in your mind expands instead of feeling like it’s going to explode with the fire of emotion. 
Lastly, as Dr Lerner recommends, as the recipient of the apology, simply respond with, “thank you. I appreciate it.” Nothing more is required.
I assure you, with these simple heart-felt statements you pave the way for a more honest and in some cases a more intimate relationship.

With love and appreciation, xoxo Paulette

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