Learning to accept an apology without getting one

Written by Keely Maree 

If someone hurts us on an emotional level, it is never quite a simple one-way affair. Because what has the ability to hurt us has to come from a place deep within ourselves that has been unresolved. The sad fact is, we all cause micro hurts in each other every single day. These micro hurts are usually not even done with the intention of causing someone else pain, but because we are all damaged and defending ourselves by this incessant onslaught of micro emotional pain. We ourselves are perpetrators of the cycle.

When someone hurts us emotionally, we often feel like we need to hear an apology from the offending person in order to feel vindicated. But what happens if that apology never comes?

It is easy enough to believe that if the person who wronged you says they’re sorry, that you will then be able to move on from it. But words often come cheap and genuine apologies come few. Because to say sorry means to truly understand the hurt you have inflicted on another and consolidate that the behavior won’t happen again. Our ego needs to feel like its been heard. And that’s the crux of it, communication on an honest and raw level is what we are asking for.

It just doesn’t really happen the way we want it to.

To expect someone who has wronged you to come to you and genuine express their true understanding of what they did to cause such offense won’t happen. What is hurting you is more to do with your own pain than theirs.

No-one can come to you and say they’re sorry on a level that will ever really validate you, unless the pain is completely released.

And if you are the one who has caused hurt to another, unless you endeavor to demonstrate your capabilities to be empathetic and hear what the grievance is, then the words are a moot point.

People are hurt because they aren’t heard, they aren’t seen and they aren’t accepted.

And we are all guilty of making another person feel that way, either purposefully or not.

Sometimes, it is easier to release the person who has offended you from your life and to move on, but when it is family or a close friend, then that option is more complicated. Removing someone from your life can mitigate the odds of that person being able to wrong you in the future, but it won’t delete the pain you feel because of them. Only you can decide to process what caused you such grief and work through the feelings it ignited in you. By deciding on collapsing communication, you have decided to accept an apology you will never receive and that closure has to be your own doing.

If proxy isn’t an option, then reconciling that whoever has caused you to feel unseen, unheard or unaccepted, is by far the more difficult path. Often, in an attempt to defend your position and express your pain, it can be further unaccepted from the other person, as they too are trying to defend their position. Because people find it difficult to listen to anything that is perceived as an attack on their ego.

And so now, both parties have become guilty of causing each other hurt.

Let’s talk about the ego for just one moment. The ego is explained as our outward persona, the part we show to the world and that chatty voice in our head. The ego is not our true self. Our ego is the very thing that is in complete contrast to our true self. When we are born, we are perfectly unaffected by worries of the world, we are perfect. Until we develop the ego, the thing that tells us to hate, to be afraid and embrace fear. We all dwell here and it is not an easy thing to over-come. As Bill Plotkin points out in his book Nature and the human soul – “Ego consciousness is our greatest liability as well as our greatest power.”

We have the ability to become more self-aware, to decipher what is in our true nature, what is really important and what we have developed as part of our persona to essentially help us feel protected from the world. In recognizing that what we all seek is to feel heard, seen, accepted… we acknowledge that we all seek the same thing.

Love.

And here’s the hard truth, not everyone is going to reach that level of soul expanding development. Bill Plotkin argues that many people struggle to transition from adolescence into the next phase of maturity.
“In current Western and Westernized societies, in addition to the scarcity of true maturity, many people of adult age suffer from a variety of adolescent psychopathologies — incapacitating social insecurity, identity confusion, extremely low self-esteem, few or no social skills, narcissism, relentless greed, arrested moral development, recurrent physical violence, materialistic obsessions, little or no capacity for intimacy or empathy, substance addictions, and emotional numbness.”

And there is not a thing that you can do to change that about someone who is not ready to delve deeper into their own behaviors. And attempting to bring a higher level of self-understanding to a conversation with a person who is not matured past a certain adolescent psychopathology, merely leaves you vulnerable to encouraging your own ego-centric behavior.

This doesn’t mean that you do not love someone who has caused you hurt, but to expect them to understand how their own actions have or will affect you is only causing you both pain. It can be a difficult concept to accept, because when your own evolution supersedes that of someone you care for, their actions or words can often start to feel like rejections of your very being.

But in so many ways, it’s not their fault. And because you can no more hate a dog for barking, can you hate a person who has not given their soul a chance to expand and grow.

So by accepting an apology you will never hear, likely never receive, you are actually giving your-self an opportunity for growth.

You are learning forgiveness on the deepest level there is and that has to come from a place of love.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E Cummings.

About the author:

"Who i am has been an adventure of my soul. Each stage of my life has been one full on learning and in reflection, i am grateful to every experience. I have a deep sense of knowing that i am meant to connect people to one another and to create a community where people are welcome to be themselves. I built a business around this simple idea and feel privileged to live my passion." - Keely Maree 

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Comment by Keely Lorae on January 20, 2019 at 10:29pm

Hey Leigh, 
Thank you for clearing that up. Do you know when this will be?

Comment by Leigh Burton on January 18, 2019 at 9:30am

The article will be published in an online magazine and ezine, as well as be featured on the OMTimes website. Hope that helps.

Here is what I do with my material once it is published. When published, I visit the OMTimes website and share the link related specifically to my article. Here is an example...

https://omtimes.com/2018/12/humble-holiday-season/

I hope that helps answer your question :)

Comment by Keely Lorae on January 17, 2019 at 10:09pm

Hi Leigh, I understand this may sound like a strange question - but i just realised i don't fully understand what you have meant in the comment below. Is the article intended to be featured just online or also in the print magazine? I would love to be able to share this exciting development with my community, so i think it would help to clarify for me! Thank you again for reading my work, it means a lot!

Comment by Keely Lorae on January 17, 2019 at 10:02pm

Oh wow! How exciting! Thank you.

Comment by Leigh Burton on January 17, 2019 at 8:02am

I really like what you have done here. I'm going to do some editing and send it to the publisher. I will check your bio...but can you please add a bio (60 words) at the end of your submissions? It would be helpful. 

Well done.

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