Updated: Feb 14, 2019
Is it after the person has practically begged you, or is it after the person says it once with sincerity behind it? How many times do you let someone say it or beg you for it? The power of this word is greatly underestimated. It is one of the deadly words to be kept unvoiced.
I have found myself in a few situations where I was distraught with the other person for something they did and/or did not do. I was pained. I cried. I fussed. I just wanted to hear them say “I am sorry”, but on the contrary, I was punished for my reaction to the hurt we both partook in or they exposed me to.
Over time, the phone lines went dead. I watched my screen in silent agony. My wishes of reconnecting rose and fell like the ocean waves but the loud emotions we exchanged splashed my memory so hard I revived that pain just so I did not forget I once knew such a person. Our words were stuck between the wires. And the only thing to push it through was the word: sorry.
Both parties had a reason and a solution. Some chose to let me “work it out” on my own and later come to them. It was as though I was on a time-out known only to them because they put me there without my knowledge. Others would fight me on how sincere my sorry was, adding their conditions on what actions should succeed the apology. Then I had the few. The few who just did not say it at all because how I got to that hurtful place was solely my doing and any mention of them taking an ounce of responsibility was met with vicious denial. Lastly, I had the odd ones. How can I forget the odd ones? The odd ones are those who just do not know they are hurting or have hurt you so expecting a sorry is like expecting the lime tree to bear mango fruits. Never. Going. To. Happen. I have sadly played such roles before and so have you. If you think you have not, this post is definitely for you (insert side eye emoji).
I ask myself, should you say sorry only because you mean it or say it when you deeply understand how your actions affected the other person? Better yet, do you say sorry first even when you are in the absolute right just so the reconciliation process can begin for the other person, and/or to safeguard your relationship? Darn it. This word has been asking more questions than I intended for this post.
You know something else? I think the one saying sorry has equal power as the one expected to accept it. For both parties need something from the other – closure. And when that is not rendered more feelings are canned for future opening with a serious foul odour. (did that give you a stank face? (Iamnotsorryforit) ^_^
Letting someone continuously say sorry does lessen the value of impact each time. It pulls it apart, putting uncalled for confusion and stress on receiver – the one expected to accept it and often times the one waiting to hear it.
Let me tell you a story.
I recall all too vividly a fight with someone I used to know. It was over the simple fact that I interrupted her as she spoke, and she demanded I apologize and apologize with sincerity - which to her meant there was silence after I said sorry and allowed her to keep talking. In her mind, sorry meant you immediately stop talking and let her continue to speak. To her it did not matter how the apology was rendered per se, but the apology was only valid when the action, which in the case was interrupting her, ceased immediately on her account.
That day I learned something: conversations are like driving in the streets of Udaipur, India where cows, bulls and humans share the road (not even joking here, I stayed there for a few months) You stop, go, intersect and bump with some amount of assurance that the other person will understand these gestures. You cannot control it yet you anticipate it. And when it is reciprocated, you both simply “get it” and not take offence. Words, thoughts and the tongue are trying to live in harmony in the head. They are bound to collide without notice. (Insert shrug)
After several apologies and her still insisting the apology should follow a certain format with so and so actions attached to it, the fight graduated from five minutes to weeks. I was confused. I was very drained and you guessed it, done with it all. My mind started to spin and I wondered, “what else can I say if sorry is not working to stop the now rants and start the recovery process?” Keyword: start. In due time that word sorry became a form of chore and bondage; and with bondage comes power, with power comes ownership. And ownership over any human being is slavery. I am not about that life, darling. I cut that relationship off, for various reasons. I was called a coward for leaving that relationship but I am a very happy coward who values her inner peace.
Saying sorry should be easy. Hearing it should make you feel better. And accepting it should never be used as a weapon over another’s happiness. You will say, well if they don’t say it move on” and in some cases you are right. But when it comes to matters of the heart, you have no control, if your heart needs to hear it, it will wait till it does.