Saying “I’m sorry” is commonly taken as an apology, but what is it really?
When someone says, “I’m sorry,” it generally means that they have regret. It often means they’d like to make amends in some way, usually by offering their regret and acknowledging that what they did or didn’t do was in some way less than ideal, or perhaps even a cause of suffering.
Commonly, when people say “I’m sorry,” they’re admitting to some kind of wrong-doing that they now regret. Although it could be something very slight.
I hear people say, “I’m sorry,” when the appearance is that they might possibly have gotten in your way as you’re both moving through a room. Folks say, “I’m sorry,” when they didn’t clearly hear you and are asking for you to repeat what you said.
“I’m sorry,” can be used to address an offense as big as murder or as small as getting in someone’s way on the way to the buffet or brushing against them in line at the airport.
It generally means, “I regret that, please excuse me.” It can be taken as a sign of manners and civility. Many times we’ve taken to replying as the Australians do, “no worries!” or “no problem.”
When there’s been what feels like a real offense, a deep wounding, I’m sorry can be very helpful in conveying a sense of regret, and honoring the person’s feelings. Of course, with the tone, we can say “I’m sorry,” with no regret and 100% sarcasm, so the words are really nothing.
What if, instead of saying “I’m sorry,” we could say:
I can see that I made an error. I made some unloving choices that I now regret. I’m sorry if you were hurt by what I said, or didn’t say, did, or didn’t do and I’d like to let you know that if I had it to do over, I would do this instead: ______. I’ve really learned something here, and I intend to not repeat this. I intend to let this experience lead me to higher more loving choices in the future.
Here are the ways I know to transmute the errors of the past:
- Taking responsibility without ANY blame.
- Having compassion for ourselves and others.
By actively engaging in these two steps, we move out of the past and stop repeating it. That’s a HUGE relief. When we stop repeating the past we feel better about ourselves. It’s a tremendously loving thing to do for ourselves.
Love is truly our healer. Let’s Love ourselves free of the patterns of the past and demonstrate true healing in our lives. We inspire others with our loving choices and that’s good for everyone!
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