Mental Health, Opinion, self care

Self Care Sunday – Apologizing

When we think of selfcare we so often focus on just the fun parts: bubble baths, Netflix marathons, cups of tea, and good books. But caring for yourself involves so much more than just being warm and cuddly. Sometimes taking care of yourself also means doing the things you need to do. In my new Self Care Sunday series, I’m going to share tips and ideas for you to show yourself care. Sometimes they will be warm, cuddly ideas and sometimes they will be difficult but necessary actions.

A few years ago I opened my laptop and began an email with a subject line of, “I’m sorry.” It was a message to my ex-fiance, whose heart I broke when I dumped him after we got engaged. While we hadn’t nailed down a date for our wedding, nor had I purchased a wedding dress, he’d made it very clear that for him I was the one. And I had not made it clear enough to him that he was not the one for me.

There are a myriad of reasons why I didn’t want to marry him, and a myriad of reasons why I said I would even though I didn’t want to. But, ultimately, regardless of his behavior or his actions, I had choices I made as well. And he wasn’t the only making mistakes.

So, after years of carrying the guilt of how I treated him during our break up and after, I sent him an apology letter. I told him I was sorry for the pain I caused and I recognized now how I could have and should have done things differently. It was important for me that I do this. I needed to do the right thing and sometimes saying you’re sorry is absolutely the right thing.

One of the best ways you can self care is by doing things that are good for your spirit, even if they bruise the ego a bit. None of us want to admit we’re wrong or we’ve done something wrong. But, if we can’t confront our wrongness and admit to it, we are bound to commit those same mistakes again in the future. We will exist in these self-destructive cycles, living through the same bad choices endlessly, and wondering how and why we keep getting ourselves into these messes.

This Sunday I encourage you to sit down and think about the apologies you need to send. It isn’t so much about reconciliation or them forgiving you (because you aren’t necessarily owed that), but it’s about you taking control of your own destiny and your own emotional wellbeing. It’s about breaking that cycle of bad decisions and admitting the mistakes you’ve made. Only then can you really be free to move forward with your life, those past mistakes firmly planted where they belong: behind you.

So, how does one apologize? I find the best apologies start and stay simple:

“Dear so-and-so,

I want you to know I was wrong and I know I was wrong. I did this and I also did that and I regret my choices. You don’t owe me your forgiveness and I’m not asking for a second chance. I just wanted you to know I’m sorry. I needed to tell you that. Thank you for listening.

Sincerely,

Me”

It doesn’t take much to apologize. A few sentences will do the trick and while it’s absolutely terrifying to do, when it’s done it feels amazing.

What happens next varies. They may respond with apologies of their own. They may respond with anger because for them the pain is still too fresh. They may not respond at all. Whatever they do is up to them. All that matters is you made a choice to take care of your own self. And it’s a choice you will never regret.

Until next time.

Tamara

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