Once again, thank you Brené Brown for saving the day!
Thank God I listened to Brené Brown’s podcast: “Unlocking us”. Her two-part conversation with Harriet Lerner, “I’m Sorry: How To Apologize & Why It Matters”, was exactly what I needed to hear. The most important thing is that I listened till the end where I learned a vital lesson.
It was mind-blowing! So much came into perspective and I can clearly see that it’s not the right time to undergo reconciliation, if ever possible. More has to be digested and integrated for the both of us prior to any possibility of reconnecting. I’ve obviously started audio reading Harriet Lerner’s book: “Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts” but Brené’s podcast condensed the teachings incredibly well.
“The non-apologizer walks on a thigh rope of defensiveness above a huge canyon of low self-esteem”. Harriet explains in the last 10 minutes of part 2 of the podcast. All these ties into shame and the greater the offence, the less likely the individual will apologize out of self-preservation for the very little self-esteem they have left. Only those who stand on a solid platform of self-worth have the stable foundation from where they can accept their flaws, believe they can do better and reach out to apologize.
I think the worst part of my separation is over and it’s time for me to do the work to come out a wiser person from it. I’m in the better part of my menstrual cycle and I’m coming to terms with the outcome of my relationship. Educating myself and staying curious as to what happened, why and how to improve made all the difference not to sink in a well of negativity. My emotional homework for the days to come is: to identify my apology blind spots to see where I’m in denial of my wrongdoings.
As a kid, I never wanted to apologize. My parents had to punish me and force me to give not heartfelt apologies when hurting another child. I would stand my ground and be convinced it was the consequence of the other person’s misbehaviour and I was either defending myself or punishing them for being disrespectful. Luckily, in exploring a situation, we only have to take responsibility for our own wrongdoings, we are not responsible for other people’s actions. It’s important to look at our part in the conflict and take responsibility for it even if it’s very little and if we feel we have done nothing wrong, then it’s important to approach in a non-attacking way. Taking responsibility for our share first allows the other to bring their defences down and lays the ground for an equal stance to have a conversation from.
Using curious empathy is key to maintain a judgement-free environment where we avoid blaming or shaming our counterpart. It’s difficult work and I’ve undergone some pretty rough restoration processes in the past with romantic partners, friends and family members. Luckily, I’m fairly familiar with the steps of accountability and it’s for me to review what I learned ten years ago and put it back in practice. Obtaining forgiveness is not my goal nor will it make me feel better. Having integrity for myself is what counts most to me. Knowing that I did my homework and dug to find out what was missing in my actions will create solutions for the future. They say forgiving sets you free and I also believe apologizing has the same power, that it’s accepted or not by the other party.
P.S. I did send a brief note to see if my ex wanted to talk, he did not respond but he did view my message. I’m okay with that because I’m doing this to see if I can help in any fashion. If there’s nothing I can do for him, then I will continue doing my growth for my own sake.