Say you’re sorry.
It was a mantra of sorts growing up in my house. Knowing when and how to apologize sincerely … when mistakes are made, when you know you did something that was hurtful or wrong … is a good thing. Manners are a good thing in any family, and a sincere apology goes a long way toward rebuilding trust and harmony.
But let’s not take it too far.
Anything that becomes rote becomes mindless.
I was deep in a conversation with a friend the other day when things touched a nerve and emotions came to the surface. She immediately apologized, something I think so many of do when the tears well up.
We don’t want to make others uncomfortable, or think maybe they said or did something wrong. That’s admirable, but not apology-worthy.
Apologizing for an honest reaction, a raw emotion, diminishes the value of that emotion. It also diminishes the receiver of the apology, in an interesting way. When someone feels safe enough around me to have those raw moments, without fear of me judging them, I’m honored, not chagrined. I can handle your tears, your fears, your insecurities just as well as I can handle your joy and your laughter.
When “sorry not sorry” became an internet trope, it encapsulated our collective need to own our feelings, share our thoughts, without prejudging them on our own behalf.
You want to cry? Cool.
You’re mad as hell? Awesome.
You’re so confused you don’t even know what you feel? Been there.
We all have dreams and desires and wishes and needs that others can only guess at. Let’s stop assuming that these are something we ought to apologize for.
So don’t jump right to the apology. If you’re about to get all Level 10 emotional, a little heads up might be in order, but an apology in definitely not required.
Love the heart that beats inside you.
Carol Pearson is the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life and the founder of the 10 Little Rules Books Series.