I shared a few weeks agoI have been having fun breaking my inappropriate sorry habit. But what about times when sorry is appropriate and necessary!
Times like when we have made a mistake or hurt someone in some way. This includes an apology to ourselves as well in times when we have given ourselves a hard time, by being unkind with our self talk! There is a practice I learned from Lama Marut several years ago which is entitled the 'Four Powers'! I find this practice very useful when I have done something that I regret doing. It involves these 4 steps
1. Refuge -
This can simply mean remember having this on your conscious will destroy your peace of mind
Feel some regret having done the misdeed. As simple as 'I wish I had not done that'
Make a promise to yourself to do your best to restrain from repeating this misdeed
Do something to make up for what you have done. This can include an apology if appropriate or something else you can do to make up for what you have done to clear your conscience.
A simple example of this practice that I like to share involved a time when I cut someone off in traffic. I cut them off in my haste to get, would you believe, to a yoga studio!
My refuge in this example was my understanding that if I did not do anything about it I would feel guilty with troubled peace of mind for the rest of my trip and beyond.
So Regret next. Did I regret cutting the person off? Yes it was unkind and inconsiderate. I was sorry that I had inconvenienced the other driver.
Next Restraint. Could I restrain from inconsiderate driving for the rest of my trip home? Yes!
And lastly my recompense. What could I do to make up for this misdeed? I would find someone to let into the traffic as a makeup for the inconvenience to the other driver. It took me nearly the whole way home from Northcote to find someone to let into the traffic. Whew, finally I did and it felt great! All done and dusted! And a clear conscience!
And a couple more helpful thing when saying sorry for something you regret doing!
1. AVOID BUTS!
So many times I apologise and then go on with a but and it's following string of excuses! It goes something like this when I am late for my mum .....Sorry for being late, but the traffic was terrible ...on and on with a string of excuses.. This makes her cranky with me and I understand why!
The word BUT following a sorry......
Negates the main purpose of an apology, which is to acknowledge
1. The action and
2. The impact it has had.
Shifts the responsibility for your actions and their impact onto someone or something else
Makes the person you are apologising to feel invalidated and overlooks their pain.
So, what can I do instead of the 'but' and excuses following my apology. I could say to my Mother 'Sorry I am late. I said I would be there on time and I am not. I am sorry I have inconvenienced you.
This statement apologies, acknowledges the action and the impact it as had. When we don't use a but, and instead use a' full stop' or an 'and' we acknowledge the impact of our actions without minimising the other person's experience. We also take responsibility for our actions.
Forgiveness for oneself and others is also very important. When others offer us an apology, forgiveness is not only healing for them, but also frees our mind from the disturbance of holding onto a grudge or hurt. It is equally important to forgive ourselves for misdoings. We are all human and make mistakes. Using the Four powers can be extremely helpful here.
We are human and all make mistakes and are at times hurtful to both ourselves and others. We can be aware of how we respond at these times and avoid 'buts' to allow a response that makes others and ourselves feel better. It never feels good to be defensive, blaming or hurtful. A helpful anonymous quote says "Never ruin an apology with an excuse' And a plug for forgiveness from Mother Theresa - 'If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.
I look forward to connecting again next fortnight
Kind regards, best wishes and love