When I quit drinking I felt like my life was an apology. This deliberate change, was my way of showing the world, I was sorry for the way I lived my life and I was willing to change my ways. The expression “the best apology is a change of behavior” was my mantra. I was truly sorry, but unfortunately I did not understand how a proper apology works. You see, I have been holding onto the expectation that because I have taken this step to change my ways, that the people who have hurt me, might then apologize back to me. I had expectations. I made assumptions.
I thought…maybe these people who hurt me would also change their ways? Maybe they would come to me and say… “I am sorry for the things I have said and done to hurt you Karyn, can we try to make things right and move forward in this life together, as healed and happy people?” This never happened, even though I spent an enormous amount of time wishing it would - time I can’t get back.
What I refused to recognize all this time, is that people will never see things from my perspective. In most cases, people have good intentions and do not mean to hurt others. Typically, people hurt other people as part of a ripple effect of the pain they experience themselves. If they’ve done you wrong, it’s not about you - it is about them. They are simply trying to cope.
The real shame about all of this is about the people who were in fact, there for me. The voices of the supporters that were dampened by my angst about those who ‘done me wrong’. While I was wishing for certain people to come to me and make things right, I was unable to accept the love and support that was actually coming to me from others. There have been a number of kind and generous people who have reached out, and keep reaching out, to help me through my difficult times. These people have not been thanked - not like they should be. For that I’m sorry.
I’m also genuinely sorry about my failed relationships. I have blamed others for a long time. Indeed, I have something to apologize for as well. I must be accountable for my part in the breakdown of these relationships.
I disagree that the best apology is a change of behaviour. The best apology is the use of words to communicate to other people, what you have done and how you take ownership of it with regret. And then… to have zero expectations of an apology in return. The hardest part about an apology is the truth - the truth that you yourself were in the wrong, and there is nobody else to blame.