Greg Baer once said in a seminar that we only grow when we hurt each other. It's a part of the human experience. We are not perfect and we will make mistakes that cause others to hurt and other's will hurt us.

There is a real opportunity for us to learn in these moments. When someone does something to cause us discomfort or pain, we can look at our level of reaction and use this as a learning tool to evaluate our own level of happiness. If we react really badly then it's a sign that we really are needing more unconditional love in our own life. We can then look at what we could do differently to gain the fullness we need.

We can also evaluate the other person for signs of fullness or emptiness and gauge how close we should really be with them intimately. It is an ever fluctuating dynamic but a great tool to "see" ourselves and others and to potentially learn and make better decisions.

When we hurt someone and feel regret we generally have been taught to apologize.

Let's take a look at that dynamic.

If we are empty, regret is really the feeling of another person potentially withholding their love from us, having disapproval of our actions and therefore us. So the traditional apology is for us to get our pain of withdrawal removed. It is to ask for forgiveness. If we look at it as a "getting" behavior, we can therefore see it as a Me Me Me, self centered action. Sometimes the other person may not be ready to forgive us.

I see a "real love apology" in a very different way. We can inspire hope in the situation if we do it correctly, giving a gift instead of asking for something from the other person.

Since we cannot change what we can't see, we can give hope to the other person (a gift) if we can articulate the following:

Here is what I did:
Here is the behavior I used:
I regret how it hurt you:
And this is what I could do differently:

My son, at seven years old, said to me once, "why do you keep apologizing if you still keep doing it". That really was profound for me and made me think deeply about what I could do differently.

So without "needing" approval or forgiveness, that the other person may not be ready to give, if ever, we can give a gift of hope, by telling them what we do see and how we are working to change it. The gift of hope is given to them and therefore opening up the door for love to gain it's ground again in the relationship.

So the next time you want to apologize, think it through first. Who is it really for?

Is it to ease your own pain or bring hope?


Sharon Winningham, CRLC

Author's Bio: 

Sharon A Winningham, Certified Real Love Coach
I am a Religious Scientist, Mom, Seminar Speaker, Teacher, Realtor, Salsa dancer and Real "lover". It's all about Real Love.