“Love means never having to say you are sorry,” is a quote taken from the 1970 movie Love Story.
It has different meanings for different people and is possibly one of the most controversial and discussed quotes from a romantic film.
Some people see it as, if you love someone, you will act accordingly and never do anything to hurt the other person. But, in reality, this is not always possible. We are all unique with our own set of beliefs and conditioning and whether intended or not, we will, at some point, do something within our relationships for which an apology may be required.
Some people may see the above quote as meaning we do not need to receive an apology from our partners if we love one another—we will understand that nothing was done intentionally to cause the pain, therefore, saying sorry is unnecessary.
Whichever way we see the quote, it will always benefit the relationship to admit when we have done something that has caused suffering and to let our loved ones know that our actions are unintended and that we are regretful.
Regardless, whether it is voicing the words, “I’m sorry,” or taking the time to let others know that our behaviour was not acceptable, it is important to recognise and acknowledge this and pass that on to the other person.
Ego often plays a huge part when we experience difficulties with apologies.
Our pride can get in the way which prevents us from admitting that we may have gone wrong somewhere. When we view our relationships as far more important than bruising our ego, we will avoid causing often irreparable damage to bonds that we have with others.
The timing of an apology is also relevant, as delaying apologies for too long can lead to a build up in resentment, which can ultimately cause more harm than whatever it was that was wrong in the first place. Also, after a period of time our memories can become selective and things are misconstrued, which can make it more difficult for us to see what actually happened and how the other person may be feeling.
The quicker we accept our mistakes and take responsibility for our actions, the higher chance there will be of rectifying and resolving things so that we can repair any damage and both learn and heal.
For an apology to be sincere, there also has to be meaning and depth behind the words, as empty apologies will be picked up quickly by the other person, especially if the behaviour is repeated as if no responsibility or genuine acceptance has took place.
Listening to the other person is key in gaining clarity—unless their feelings are validated, it will be quite difficult to let them know that responsibility has been taken and that we are willing to make changes to prevent things from repeating in the future.
It is also important that we don’t just apologize with the expectation that we will be forgiven. It is not possible to predict the outcome of how another person will react, therefore, the most genuine apologies are ones that have been given unconditionally.
There are a million different ways to say sorry and words are just one of them. Here is an apology I wrote to my loved one to explain how I felt in hope that they understood that despite messing up from time to time, overall, I am deeply and sincerely sorry for any way in which my behaviour, words and thoughts have hurt them;
For I am so deeply sorry for words that I have spoken that have deeply hurt or disappointed you.
For all of the moments that I have wasted questioning you unnecessarily.
For the times where I have been too absorbed in my own passions to notice that you needed me.
I’m sorry for pushing you away or too far when all you wanted was to be close.
For each moment that I have seen sadness in your eyes, yet I have put my own pain before you.
I am so sorry for at times doubting your limitless love for me.
I am sorry for not always accepting you for all that you are.
I am sorry for placing conditions and boundaries, when with you I know those are not necessary.
Forgive me, please, for not celebrating every waking moment deeply embroiled in the love that we found and that we are fortunate to have shared.
I want you to forgive me for those times when I chose other things over you.
And for those times my plans were selfishly focused on I, and not us.
For those nights without sleep when you worried that our love would not withstand.
I am so intensely sorry for the times when you woke in the dark, but I was more concerned with rest than acknowledging your ache.
For the times when my eyes were blind to things that were attempting to destroy us.
I am so f*cking sorry for hurting you, for causing you pain and for making your heart beat loudly in fear of our loss.
For the times when you have felt so alone even though I have been right there with you.
For when I have complicated and mistook and misread any words that you spoke.
When I have blamed and accused and lashed out due to insecurities and past wounds surfacing.
I want you to know that my heart bleeds out for everything and anything that I have done to cause you harm or suffering.
My Darling, please, I ask you, can we just rewind or erase and try to forget those bad memories, as I cannot bear for them to be in our blueprint.
Although, for as tempting as it is, and for all of these things and far, far more, if the option was there, I would not simply turn the clock all the way back. I couldn’t. I would not delete, sacrifice, risk or gamble all that we have been through, everything we have tackled and each storm we have rode together.
For, if we turned back the clock, there may be a chance that there would be no us, then we may never have been. So, far more than I’m sorry for all that I have done, I do not ever want to have not had this, not had you and not had all that we have experienced in our shared time together.
So, please, I offer you my sincere apology, my sorry and my excruciatingly painful acknowledgement that I should have done more, I could have been more and believe me when I say I see so clearly the errors in my ways.
And I promise you from this day forward I will do all that I can to undo those mistakes, to make peace with the past and to show you each moment of each new day from here on that you deserve more than I gave.
You are exquisite in my life and each time I mess up, I will accept the mess gracefully and do all that I can to make things far more than just right. For you deserve far more than I have offered you. I will learn and accept and work hard to correct all the wrongs.
I am sorry, so very sorry.
For yesterday’s and today’s and tomorrow’s mistakes that have foolishly yet to be made.
I will try. I promise you that.
Can you forgive me. Please?
I ask you, even though, I know without doubt that you already do.
Author: Alexsandra Myles
Editor: Catherine Monkman
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