Have you ever scrolled down through emails and come across one that makes your stomach clench because you should have answered weeks ago??
How about dropping the ball on communication in other ways, like not returning a phone call, responding to a text or forgetting to say something?
This came to the forefront to me when I was considering contacting someone I’ve been procrastinating about writing to.
It got me wondering about apologies and whether there is a need if no true harm was done.
What am I saying and wanting when I start out with an apology?
- I’m making myself “wrong” in some way (I’m in the wrong, please forgive me.)
- I’m wanting to allay or preempt judgment (If I say it first, it won’t feel so bad.)
- I’m trying to regain approval or good regard (that I feel I’ve lost.)
So… is this a projection? Do I get upset when someone doesn’t write back immediately? Sometimes… when it seems to me that something else hinges on it.
But what if – and wouldn’t this be wonderful – What if the time that I do write, or hear back, IS the perfect time?!
If all is in Divine Timing, which I (theoretically) believe to be true, then I can drop a load of expectations – from convention, from my “training” growing up, from perfectionism, and I can lean back into the trust that all IS well.
Then I’ll feel free to check in with my inner sense of what to say, what to do, and when. Then there’s no need for apology, as it IS in perfect timing whenever it happens.
As I do this, I can come from a clear, unclouded place of truly wanting to connect, saying what is needed without making myself or others wrong.
It feels very scary to contemplate not saying sorry, as if it’s a crucial social lubricant that helps smooth things out. However, if there’s no real need to apologize, it’s adding to my sense that I am wrong no matter what I do or don’t do, which is not true.
Noticing when that sense of feeling guilty and the habit of saying sorry crop up, and then reminding myself that I can choose another way, will allow me to drop that load of expectations and just be present with what I want to be saying in “this” moment.
This is the perspective that I want to come from when I choose to write the email that sparked this whole train of thought.
I invite you to reflect along with me…
- Listen for how often, when and with whom you apologize. Ask yourself, “What am I wanting by saying ‘sorry’?”
- How might you look at it differently?
- What feels right to you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can share below.
Brenda Blanks says
This is something that I struggle with all the time as I get so many emails that are junk and have a tendency to not want to look at my emails or simply trash them. This is a very useful topic and I will put it into practice. Thanks, Lois.
You are welcome, Brenda! Huge amounts of email contributes to the challenge for sure! Glad this was helpful!
Sarah Sturm says
Great topic and something I face often. I’m realizing my intention is to respond right away, and to be present when I read emails as well as respond to them. If I’m multitasking I struggle with this even more! Your words and thoughts are so helpful here. Thank you for sharing.
Oh yes… that multitasking is a major issue. I love the reminder about being present when I am checking emails rather than taking a quick look. Thanks!