Self-Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Sorry_smWhen I was young, I was a compulsive apologizer.  I sprinkled “I’m sorry” into many conversations and sometimes even apologized for saying I’m sorry so much.  What a tangle!  Happily I became less apologetic over time, hardly noticing my use of “I’m sorry.”

Then in my 5-day Jin Shin Jyutsu® class in Kauai, Hawaii in February 2010, our instructor Wayne Hackett wouldn’t allow anyone to say “I’m sorry.”  He was relentless about it, interrupting anyone who said it and making them rephrase whatever they were saying.  He kept telling people they weren’t sorry and they ought not to talk about themselves that way.  At the time I thought it was just his personal pet peeve.

After class I realized saying “I’m sorry”, or more fully “I am sorry,” wasn’t self-supportive.  Defining myself as sorry just didn’t feel loving.  So I started playing with not saying it.

When you’ve done something you regret, it’s easy to substitute “I apologize” for “I’m sorry.”  It’s harder to show sympathy.  “I’m sorry for your loss” is a standard sentiment.  Rephrasing it as “You have my deepest sympathies” or “I offer my sincere condolences” can feel awkward at first.  Yet I’ve found the practice of not inadvertently labeling myself as sorry has value.  It forces me respond to others more consciously and at the same time doesn’t diminish me with habitual self-dismissive language.

I love not being sorry any more.  You might enjoy that freedom as well.

4 comments

    • Thanks, Robyn! Yes, it’s striking how a person’s obvious discomfort can make others uncomfortable as well. When a speaker apologizes less (or not at all!), the listener is able to hear more deeply. It’s like a communications barrier lifts and both people are more present.

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  1. At first when I read this, I thought, “I disagree. Sometimes saying I’m sorry is the right thing to do when you’ve made a big error.” After thinking about it for a bit, I’m revising my thoughts. In Wishes Fulfilled, Wayne Dyer talks about how powerful and Godly the words “I am” are and how must always be conscious of what we follow “I am” with. So, I’ve decided that “You have my deepest sympathies” or “I offer you my deepest apology” carry just as much weight without minimization of self. In fact, I am wondering if they are perhaps even stronger than saying “I am” because you are thinking of the other – not only of self.

    Thanks for this profound post, Christy. I AM grateful you wrote it (note use of I am here 😉 and I AM eager to give it more thought.

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    • Thanks, Ann, what you write makes so much sense! I had the same response when I was first exposed to the idea but over time the “I AM” of it is what persuaded me to revisit it. I love the concept of what you say carrying more weight since you aren’t minimizing yourself – cool insight! Love your closing “I AM” statements too. 🙂

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