When Love Story by American writer Erich Segal appeared as a book and then a movie in 1970, it was hailed as a romantic story of a young couple and her tragic death.
Whatever the degree of love we share, when we damage a relationship, we need to own our actions and find the courage to say, “I’m sorry.”
A line from the story was quite popular for a period of time: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
If you ask me, it’s a ridiculous idea that two people who love each other are somehow immune from ever needing to apologize. Quite the opposite is true. It is precisely because we love the other person that we should want to say we are sorry.
We’ve all screwed up at some time in our lives. Whether we’ve broken a piece of expensive dinnerware at a friend’s party, dented the fender on a borrowed car, or gotten into a full-blown argument with someone at work, we’ve all done it at some time in our adult lives.
Chances are good that when we were kids, we were forced to say we were sorry, and our parents insisted that we meant it, without concern for whether we felt it our not.
We apologize most effectively when we repair the damage. A symbol of our regret, while appropriate, is never sufficient by itself.
If they also failed to help us recognize that we are separate from our actions, we were likely left feeling we had no choice, and that we were generally a bad person. There was nothing genuine about the situation because honesty was not a factor and honesty is the root of every effective apology. No wonder we can find it hard to show or say we’re sorry when we screw up as adults!
Fortunately, as adults, we can be genuine in our apologies, and show our own children a better way to handle our mistakes. Continue reading
A friend opened my mind the other day to a new way of looking at those things from the past that we can’t seem to let go.
She said, “When the past calls, let it go to voice mail; it’s got nothing new to say.”
When the past keeps calling, it is because we have not heard its message. The message is that we cannot forget our mistakes before we have forgiven ourselves for them.
This bit of advice has been circulating for a while, so you might have heard it before. The truth is, there’s a reason the past keeps calling to remind us of our worst moments, to remind us of the bad choices we’ve made that we’d rather forget.
The past continues to call because we have not heard the message it has for us. The message is that we cannot forget the past before we have forgiven ourselves for it. The past will continue to call until we have finished with it by forgiving ourselves. Sending the past to voice mail only prolongs our suffering.
It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves when really, all we are called to do is love ourselves. We show love for our current self when we forgive the imperfections of our past self. Continue reading