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There are so many funny little things in life that hold us back from our goals. One of these things is stressing about the idea of an apology. Closely linked is the way in which many of us overthink. Let me say in just the second line the simple point that saves some time. To apologize, or to move on from waiting for someone else to apologize and forgive should both be done as quickly as possible.

In this episode, we will hear some amazing poetry from one of my favorite poets (sidenote: please be sure to go support his work) and we will learn why both apologizing and forgiving should happen quickly if we want to achieve our goals.

One of my favorite poems, called “how to be a person” by Shane Koyczan states this beautifully. We’ll hear a little piece of this poem and I’ll share my own learning about forgiveness and apologizing. Why it’s important and how we can get better at both.

How To Be A Person

One of my favorite poems, called “how to be a person” by Shane Koyczan states this beautifully.

Apologize. You will not always be right. You will not always be wrong. You will hopefully always be learning. Atonement is a sacrifice of pride. Explanation of why you did what you did, or said what you said will not vindicate you. If the cost to heal someone is only your pride, then apologize. And be grateful that you achieved peace at such a bargain.

Forgive. Realize that some people are still learning. If forgiveness is not possible then think of everything you’ve ever wanted to be forgiven for but weren’t. Hold that uneasiness in your mind until you feel your desire for absolution becoming a wish. Realize you can grant this wish for others. If you are waiting for forgiveness, be prepared to wait. Be prepared to stand in the path of time and wither. Respect that forgiveness is difficult. Not all traspasses are equal and not everyone will heal according to your schedule.

Simple But Not Easy

Now I understand, I am compassionate and sensitive to the fact that many of you might have something getting in the way of apologizing. In many ways I speak from a place of privilege, some ways externally, and in many ways because I’ve done a lot of hard work and learning about how to make this possible. But all I want to establish is that it is possible to move on quickly. Not only is it possible it will be really helpful (arguably self care) for you to be able to do so.
I want to establish another thing quickly. This is not about measuring, or keeping score as to how terrible someone has treated you. It is not about measuring, or keeping score as to how meaningless, or miniscule you feel you have wronged others. The need for apology, and forgiveness, much like the need for healing from trauma is 1. An individual experience and 2. What happens to our mindbody within, not what happened on the outside.

In our earlier episode with Sr. Helen Prejean we talk about this topic of forgiveness and how many victims families of heinous crimes on death row learn to apologize because it is part of their own healing journey.

Similarly I’ve worked with many youth who have suffered trememendous abuse at the hands of people who were supposed to protect them most and in the majority of cases a big part of their healing journey has been to forgive. 

This can be difficult to come to terms with. I realize that, much of these mindset shifts can be a lifelong journey, so I hope these next couple thoughts help at least a little bit.

5 Ways To Get Better At Apologies

  1. The most important point, because I can literally hear the complaining right now, is that this is not about making us soft, or a pushover. I could fight anyone, anytime, and I feel in the majority of cases, verbally, or physically, I would win. But that’s not the point. The point is such dragging out of apologies, or forgiveness gets in the way of us being our best. That’s true toughness, to put things in a place that allows you to truly thrive.
  2. The debate about right or wrong is irrelevant, it can be a never ending one. Even in the highest courts of law, with all the decision making power in the world they often can’t figure that out. How are we supposed to? Whether someone feels you wronged them, or you feel you’ve been wronged eventually living YOUR best life, rather than waiting becomes the best move.
  3. Much like hate scaling with love, the more relationships you create, the more you put yourself out there, the higher the chances someone will feel wronged by you. Yet, we have limited energy. If we want to expand to our true potential, at first there will be room for negative energy, but eventually we’ll need to make more and more space for only positive vibes. 
  4. Goalsetting, and growth thrive in the power of now, the present moment. It is not possible to worry about your past and live mindfully at the same time. Therefore, if nothing else, being able to apologize, or forgive because it puts us back in the moment is a reason to do it.
  5. When it comes to forgiveness, the resentment we carry will hurt us more and more, providing fresh reminders as to why we should be upset and feel pain, or worse, why we aren’t worthy of feeling joy and vitality. This leads to comfort in the zone of being a victim. But life will be a lot more simple if you forgive long before anyone apologizes.


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