Giving Apologies that Work
In this final installment of the Handling Anger series, we take a look at apologies and how to give effective ones that clear the anger and take away the pain in any conflict.
If you are like me you spent many years of your life stumbling through apologies. Each time I gave a lame one I could tell because the person to whom I was apologizing threw it back in my face, or worse went on and on about how I had hurt them until I silently wished they’d drop dead and leave me in peace. I never understood what it was about my apologies that didn’t work. I became gun shy just knowing that when I needed to make an apology that I’d probably miss the mark and end up with a mess on my hands. It made me angry and frustrated, to say the least, but also determined to find the answer. In time I did. I discovered the multidimensional perspective on apologies. Through that perspective, I found my answer. Needless to say I was overjoyed and I no longer feel that apprehension when an apology is in order.
Let’s take a look at apologies beginning with the 3D version, the one that we have been taught to give.
The 3D Apology
Webster’s dictionary defines an apology as, “an admission of guilt and/or a request for forgiveness”. This is where the problem begins because the beliefs that underscore the concept of apologies are very polarized and thus imbalanced. Starting with the first part, “an admission of guilt”, this means that when you give an apology, you are in essence saying that you are guilty. Guilt is an emotion designed to cover up feelings of being bad or Dark. And when we are bad, that is the same as saying that we don’t deserve to live. We are worthless.
No wonder guilt is such a difficult emotion to handle. It strikes at the very core of our essence, robbing us of the right to exist. So what do we do when we give an apology? We naturally follow up our admission of guilt with a defensive statement in an attempt to excuse our behavior in order to avoid being bad. When we do this, we totally invalidate the person to whom we are apologizing. Moreover, we make what was supposed to be a healing for them, all about us. This leaves the other person feeling robbed. How many times have I done that? No wonder they wanted to clobber me!
We mess up apologies even more when we expect the person that we have hurt to now turn around and forgive us. Heavens, does it ever stop?! Webster’s dictionary defines forgiveness as, “To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.” So having accepted responsibility for committing the offense and inflicting pain, we turn the attention on ourselves again by expecting a pardon (forgiveness) from the one that we have hurt. First we defend our actions to avoid guilt and then we expect the person to pardon our offense to boot. Is it any wonder why apologies so often do not work? Most of it is about our own healing, not the healing of the person we have hurt.
The Multidimensional Apology
A multidimensional definition of an apology is “the acknowledgment of responsibility for inflicting pain and the complete validation of that pain.” Multidimensionally speaking, apologies are designed for two primary purposes: (1) to acknowledge responsibility and (2) to validate the pain one has inflicted on another or others so that it can be cleared and the wound that was inflicted, healed. Notice that neither of these purposes has anything to do with assuming guilt or asking for forgiveness. Why? There is no reason to feel guilt or ask for forgiveness from the multidimensional perspective because there is no sin nor bad nor good. We are all souls playing out roles to help each other grow as our individual plans for soul evolution dictate. And soul evolution comes from integrating the Light and the Dark (the Polarity Integration Game).
Validating the Pain
To make an apology effective we must validate the pain we have inflicted. We validate pain by showing through our actions and words that we can feel what they feel. That means that we not only feel the pain we have inflicted on another, but we also communicate those feelings to the one we have harmed in such a way that he/she feels that we understand. Now this is where the problem comes in. Feeling pain is something that that we have been taught not to do. We’ve been taught that pain is bad and is associated with being bad or guilty and thus, should be avoided at all costs. So as along as we adhere to that belief, we will avoid feeling any pain, ours or another’s. As long as we avoid feeling the pain, we can’t possibly validate the pain of another because to validate sincerely we must feel it ourselves. This is why empathy is so highly valued. It means feeling the pain of another.
Speaking to the Pain
There is a second part of validating pain when giving an apology and we call it “Speaking to the Pain.” Speaking to the pain means that we verbally communicate those painful feelings to the person we have hurt as a way to mirror them back. When we mirror those painful feelings back, the person can feel that we really understand the pain we have inflicted. That’s why so many apologies don’t work. People don’t realize how important it is to have the pain mirrored back in words. But why is this so important and actually critical to the success of the healing? I’ll explain.
The Role of the Inner Child
When I discovered the multidimensional perspective on apologies, tucked within that body of wisdom was the knowledge of the role that the Inner Child plays. From the multidimensional perspective, the Inner Child is the part of us that is responsible for handling pain. The Inner Child believes that he/she is the physical body and so feels it is his/her duty to limit the amount of pain that we consciously feel. This is based on the instructions that we have given our Inner Child regarding the limit that we have for feeling pain. Anything beyond the limit is stuffed somewhere in the body. The Inner Child knows the exact location of all our pain. The Inner Child cannot release the pain of his/her own accord. Only the Self, the conscious part of you that is reading this article, can give him/her the authority to let go of the pain.
When someone who has hurt us effectively speaks to our pain, that description enables our Inner Child to find the location of that pain in our body and clear it. This clear and accurate description can only be given if the person who inflicted the pain can feel it him/herself and then relay it to you in words. It is up to you the Self, to make sure that you get that accurate description by being honest and letting that person know exactly how his/her actions hurt you. To expect him/her to figure it out on his/her own is asking that person to read your mind and that is unfair. Once that is done, the Inner Child clears out that pain and harmony is restored. Here’s an example. Jonathan became angry with me recently because I forgot to get a postage receipt for shipping merchandise home from a conference. Without the receipt, he will have to cut the postage stickers off the boxes when they arrive and then work to make them presentable for tax purposes. Struggling with near constant fatigue from high blood pressure, this extra work really triggers him. He feels that I don’t understand how hard he works to keep our finances in order. I get irate with him because I feel he doesn’t appreciate me working my butt off at the conference and I tell him so, adding a few choice cuss words to drive home my point. Needless to say, his feelings are hurt and so are mine.
Once we cool down we can apologize to each other. First we must take responsibility for hurting each other. Next, we must validate the pain we have inflicted by feeling it and the expressing that to the other.
3D Apology from Jonathan: “Jelaila, I am sorry for getting angry about you not having the receipt. Please forgive me. I only did it because I’m having a hard time keeping it together and having more work to do just overwhelms me.”
The problem with this apology is that though he started off on the right foot, he totally invalidated my feelings by defending. This makes the apology all about him instead of about me and when that happens, I just want to smack him. Then, asking for forgiveness which puts me on the spot to accept and doing it even before he apologized, makes me want to, well … I won’t say that in this article.
To give a really effective apology, we must accept responsibility for inflicting pain, and feel the hurt person’s pain without feeling bad about it. In other words, Jonathan can feel the pain (in this case being unappreciated) that I am feeling and feel sad but not feel bad. In fact, I don’t need him to feel bad; just feel the same lack of appreciation that I feel. And I won’t feel validated until I know that he can feel how I feel.
Multidimensional Apology from Jonathan: “Jelaila, I am so sorry for getting angry about the receipt and causing you to feel that all your hard work at the conference didn’t mean anything. I’m sorry if I made you feel unappreciated.”
Do you feel the difference in these two apologies? The first one makes us angry but with the second one, we can actually feel it in our heart … a release of the pain of being unappreciated. This one makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over … and appreciated.
The Unexpected Benefit of Giving a Multidimensional Apology
Once Jonathan has validated my pain, I can now turn around and validate his. I can apologize for giving him cause to feel overwhelmed and upset. Here’s my apology: “Jonathan I am sorry for not getting the receipt. And I apologize for causing you to feel overwhelmed. I know that you work very hard to keep our finances straight, even when you are ill. I so appreciate all that you do.”
I can feel how he feels now because I’m no longer wrestling with the feelings of being unappreciated. Once we are validated, we can turn around and validate our partner. This last part is what brings balance back into a relationship and allows the love to flow again.
In a nutshell the reason we aren’t able to give good apologies that work is because we don’t want to feel the pain that we have inflicted. And, we don’t want to feel the pain because we have no way to process it. Embracing a higher level of understanding, i.e., the multidimensional perspective can set us free from the guilt and enable us to give good apologies, eliminating anger and other forms of pain.
In closing, when we learn how to accept and then process pain, and then to validate it, we can give really good really effective apologies that clear away the anger and sadness, the feeling of being worthless, restore love and build trust in our relationships. In essence, heal the emotional wound inflicted. I thank my guides for this powerful, compassionate wisdom each time I must give an apology. I’m also relieved because now that I know that there is no sin and that playing the Dark role helps us all to grow, I can be okay with being wrong, and making mistakes. What freedom!
Written December 1, 2003
Revised September 3, 2007
The Polarity Integration Game article Article Link: http://www.nibiruancouncil.com/html/polarityintegration.html
 Multidimensional refers to a concept or perspective based on belief systems from a higher level of consciousness.