Sorry Not Sorry

I'm sorry, but apologizing has gotten out of control (yeah, I did that on purpose).

Energetically, the vibration of "sorry" is a double-edged sword.

In the right context, it can be a healing to say or receive an apology. When used mindfully, with attention and care, "sorry" expresses sympathy and distress, a recognition that there's been a disturbance in the force and someone's hurting because of it.

In other instances, "sorry" takes on a different energy entirely. If you've ever had someone say they're sorry for something that you're happy about, you know exactly what I mean.

Maybe you've finally pulled the plug on a marriage that has been dead for years, and you're both looking forward to the new experiences on the horizon. The hard or perhaps painful growth you both had to go through to get there is over, and you're both taking your next step. Hearing someone say they're sorry for that feels totally disconnected from reality.

Maybe you're having a major operation that will relieve a great discomfort, and because you look healthy or you're younger than the average person having that operation, people say they're sorry you have to go through that. It's almost reflexive for people to dole out an "I'm sorry" when they learn someone has to do something they perceive as difficult - even if it's the next right thing for the person who has to do it.

Maybe you're taking a gigantic pay cut to switch careers, putting aside the prestige of a decades-long stint in one industry for the bottom of the ladder in one that really lights you up. It might mean that you have to change your lifestyle, so your country club friends may say they're sorry you have to tighten your financial belt. Meanwhile, you're over the moon about the decision you've made. It can feel a little invalidating.

When we are in alignment with our truth, we act with confidence. We wake up and do the next right thing, moving from task to task with the knowledge that our actions are the manifestation of our connection to our higher power. It's not always easy. We may take actions that seem outrageous to someone else, or that don't appear to line up with what we may have done in the past. And yet, when we are driven by the still small voice within, we are compelled to do the things that it's telling us to do.

That might make some people uncomfortable. That might not always "make sense." That might look, from the outside, like a really awful mess. It may compel people to feel sorry for us...or at least, to say that they do because they don't know what else to say.

Don't be fooled - it happens to all of us. You, me, we have all done it. And maybe, just maybe, we don't have to any more. Perhaps we can validate the alignment that we, and others, have worked so hard to achieve.

Try this: the next time you feel the words "I'm sorry" bubbling up, pause and ask yourself why you're apologizing. Are you genuinely sorry for causing hurt to another? Are you aiming to come off as sympathetic? Are you at a loss for more accurate words? Would silence be unbearably awkward?

If you're not really sorry, then don't say that you are. Work to find the right words for what you're feeling. Pay attention to where the other person is working and discern whether an expression of sympathy would be validating or invalidating. Look for alignment with what's real in present time for that person, and proceed accordingly.

And notice what happens.

Barbara HolbrookComment