In the quiet of our house, while everyone else was sleeping, I sat with my son’s friend in our pj’s, where we talked about life, and death and pain and forgiveness, and how to let go of pain without hurting yourself and why some people can’t say they’re sorry when they’ve done terrible things.
I am not the poster child for this, as I have had a fair amount of self-destructive behaviours on my own to-do list, but I do understand it, and I do own my shit. For me, part of me growing up was learning how to say sorry and mean it.
I once read that people who can’t apologise are those who can’t differentiate between their actions and their character.
Just because you said an asshole-ish thing doesn’t make you an asshole. Just because you acted like a bitch, doesn’t make you a bitch.
Being able to say , “I’m sorry I was a terrible mother/father/friend/daughter/son, when I did that thing,” doesn’t make you a terrible mother/father/friend/daughter/son for always.
Looking at your behaviours and saying, “Gee, I was off my dial when I did/said that,” shows maturity. If you can apologise without letting shame enter the emotional space and you decide you’re the worst person ever, then you’re on your way to being a grown up.
I was recently a massive fuckwit. Like a huge one, and said some really shit things. It took me a few hours to apologise because I didn’t know how to come back from it. I knew I was wrong but the shame of admitting how wrong I was, stopped me from being honest with myself and those I had hurt. I assumed I was the worst person in the world, instead of seeing I just said some shit things at a shit time. Eventually, I let go of pride and shame and owned it. I owned that I had been unhinged and I knew why I was, and I apologised sincerely for my actions.
But I didn’t apologise for who I am because I’m pretty great, I just said sorry for acting like an assholey bitch, because I was one in that moment.
Can you see the difference?
You’re not an asshole if you act like one. You’re not a bitch if you act like one.
You’re great. Don’t be afraid to say sorry. Don’t be afraid to self-recriminate and then move on and don’t let it happen again. Owning your mistakes means you’re a grown up.
And yes, growing up is hard, but just because you act like a kid, doesn’t mean you are one. Grow up and learn to say sorry and mean it. I promise you, life is so much easier after!