I hear alot in the news and elsewhere about apologies being demanded and withheld and so on. Recently I heard, more than once, that an apology was need to give 'closure'. I am saddened to hear that the apology has become a requirement of the process of an error and restoration of relationships. Before I am misjudged let me say that if remorse is felt -it usually is although our brutal pasts have cut us off from empathetic connection to others- then it can be expressed.It is wonderful when it is. I'm talking about a knee jerk automatic 'sorry' that comes, often under duress, from our mouths, which has nothing empathetic or any other feeling attached except resentment. Will an apology undo or lessen the pain that happened? Will a prison sentence undo the crime? I would love to get an apology for every time that I was abused or misjudged, but in truth, if I give someone else that much power i have left myself open to a long and painful wait. Especially if it is withheld. I have relinquished my locus of control, my ability to heal, to somebody else.
Is it possible to understand that the 'event' had a lesson for us? Not "let this be a lesson to you" type of lesson, but one which brings out some thought (strongly held ones are beliefs) you have about yourself. Such judgements like "He treated me as worthless" and "I was abused" and "She abandoned me" suggest a judgement about an event in which we are clearly defined as victim. Under those lie thoughts which we don't even think of as thoughts; we mistake them for reality. I am useless, I am unlovable, I am worthless, I don't count etc or variations on those themes. That's the lesson-to bring into the light those condemming self judgements which I say are lies we believe to be true. And its the believing that does the damage, because those thoughts (beliefs) have a resonant 'negative' feeling state that goes with them, just as thoughts like' I am beautiful' and 'I am lovable' have joy and serenity with them.
I discovered a new way to forgive known in a book by Colin Tipping as Radical Forgiveness, in which the 'perpetrator' and the 'victim' are see as performing a kind of unwitting dance together. Instead of searching for blame and punishment it seeks to help me to consider a wider and more far- reaching story.It makes way for compassion, and real forgiveness-of yourself.It lets feelings be truly felt and opens the way for healing.