They had been married 57 years…
She was short, spry and full of adventure. He was tall, laid back and full of reserve. They walked by my booth at a regional fair. While she was filling out a ballot I asked her how long they had been married.
She responded with some measure of pride, “Fifty-seven years!”
A second question…
I asked her if I could pose another question to her. When she responded affirmatively I said, “Have you noticed the longer you are together, the less you apologize to him?”
“Apologize…apologize for what?” she retorted with a surprised look on her aged face.
She went on to say she couldn’t remember the last time she had apologized to her partner.
When I posed the same question to him his retort was, “What would she need to apologize for?” And he also had a kind of startled reaction to perhaps such a “silly” question. I spent a few minutes asking them why this was so? They indicated when they were younger they had disagreements fairly frequently. But as time past they found less to disagree about and if they did, it didn’t seem to last very long.
We’re different people…
I asked them why they thought this was so in their relationship?
She said, “We’re different people and we accept that. We have a lot in common but also have lots of differences…uniqueness. I guess we have learned to respect that in each other.”
He said, “If I come home and she is not in a good mood for some reason, I get to go to my workshop in the garage to do what I want to do. And if she thinks I am grouchy she then has time for her friends or hobbies. It works out fine for us.”
I said, “I guess then there is no need to say your sorry for being who you are? It benefits your partner by creating options for them, eh?”
“That’s it exactly!” she said while he simply nodded his concurrence.
Seniors spend less time apologizing…
This couple had learned through their marriage the law of balance applies at all times and all places for everyone. They had figured it out. They knew you can’t hurt someone without helping them at the very same second.
You may have noticed this generally with older people. Seniors seem to spend a lot less time apologizing for who they are, what they do or what they have than younger people. They have learned from their life experiences every event has two sides…a negative and a positive. It applies in both big events and little ones.
A small example…
For example, the other day my colleague Colleen, who is on the road traveling with her family, missed our scheduled Skype call. When she emailed to apologize I told her there was no need since it had benefited me equally not to have had to attend our meeting. I cited how it had freed me to do three outstanding errands which had been on my mind for some time. And so no apology was needed or necessary.
“Apologizing – a very desperate habit – one that is rarely cured.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes
The same principle applies in the bigger issues as well. Be skeptical but let’s check it out. Think of something which happened to you and for which you are still waiting an apology from someone.
A big example…
I was six months short of retirement when I got laid off by my employer in a cost saving measure. I was devastated by the implications of a reduced pension and the insult to my years of devoted service. I could not see any benefits to this insult. But as I processed the experience I realized I was harboring an illusion which was handicapping me.
“An apology might help, but you can change your life without one.”
Growing up poor, I thought a pension was security. I was stifling myself in the name of security. I learned there is no real security in nature. Research indicates an asteroid could wipe us out at any time, any earthquake is expected and overdue along the San Andreas Fault, seven million people die yearly from cancer alone.
Security is a belief not a reality…
There are many things in our environment over which we have no control. Security is a belief system not a reality. There is no actual security in nature. This makes life a daring adventure or nothing but haunting fear … our choice! Once this came to me it freed me to follow my dreams instead of my fears.
To be still waiting for an apology means you haven’t noticed the counterbalancing positive side to this event. Here is a little test to see if you are using one sided things in your life. Recall the last three times you apologized to anyone for anything? Write them down and find the pattern. You will find you keep apologizing for the same thing repeatedly in different ways.
The three things we apologize for…
You will find you are apologizing for one or more of the following three things in different forms each time. You will be apologizing for:
(1) who you are or are not
(2) what you do or don’t do
(3) what you have or don’t have.
You will stop apologizing when you prove to yourself you can’t take without giving or hurt without helping. Now go back to your three examples and find where your apologies fit. Notice the value to you in just noticing this.
“It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.”
Your big example…
Now go to your big example, the apology you are still waiting for from, perhaps a family member, a close friend, a boss, an ex-spouse … someone who you have been thinking only hurt you without helping you. Look again and uncover what you learned that is so significant it has altered how you see yourself and your future forever. Don’t stop looking until you find it. It is always there, it is nature’s law, you just need to persist until you see it. (The Take Away Tool below will assist you further)
I have the privilege in my work of assisting others to do this uncovering, this discovering, this revealing, this learning of the balance of their life experiences. As they gain more personal proof of the truth of this natural law, they grow in self confidence, self worth and self esteem … they evolve.
“Underneath the desire for an apology is really a desire to evolve your understanding of nature and yourself!” Ken Pierce
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER are:
- Apologizing is a waste of your energy unless you uncover their truth.
- Apologies comes from a lack of awareness of the duality of your life.
- Apologizing assumes you can have a one sided event which is impossible.
- When you uncover the other side, the benefit, there is no need for apology.
- There is a recurring pattern to your apologies drawn from your illusions.
- You apologize repeatedly for who you are, what you do or what you have.
- Your apologies are learning tools to evolve you sense of self worth.
YOUR TAKE AWAY TOOL:
Resolving Your Need For An Apology
- Step 1 – Identify the person who you are waiting to apologize. (e.g. My spouse for disrespecting me.)
- Step 2 – Identify what you learned from the event which serves you. (e.g. I learned to stand up for myself by setting a relationship boundary.)
- Step 3 – Identify how this specific learning benefits you in each of the seven areas of your life. (e.g. How does it strengthen your spirit; How does it build your self esteem; How does it enhance your work; How does it enhance your finances; How does it serve your social relationships; How does it serve your family relationships, and How does it enhance your physical health?)
- Step 4 – Notice once you have found the equilibrating benefits to the event you feel no need for an apology. Instead gratitude or appreciation surfaces.