Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry

I've been prompted to say sorry by the Archbishop of York, so if it goes wrong I can blame him can't I?

You see, for Lent, I've decided once again not to give up chocolate or "The Archers" or go to a serious discussion group where a worthy tome is discussed, but to follow the Love Life Live Lent booklet and do something straightforward and positive each day.

Today's task is to say sorry to someone.

Easy enough and quite fitting for Ash Wednesday you'd think. But I've struggled with it. What should I say sorry for? And HOW?

Together with some friends I have been reading some literature which, among other things, encourages mothers to say sorry to their children. Fair enough you'd think if the things they have done have harmed their children and who hasn't inadvertently done the wrong thing by their child once or twice (a day)? I know that I've done things that have upset my children, and more often failed to do things that might have upset them at the time but would have been good for them in the end. But in doing these foolish things I have NOT caused one of them to become unwell any more than I have caused the other one to become a nurse. I'm not that powerful. To think so would, in the words of the CBT-ites be "personalisation" . If I thought it and wallowed it that would be "expressed emotion" which is also a "bad thing" although the number of people who do wallow has probably been exaggerated. Even if well intentioned and justified, if the apology doesn't come with remedial action then it can be hollow and distressing for the recipient. Badly done, blanket apologies whether you have caused the problem or not can just anger and cause real distress, or at the very least make you look an utter pratt.

So, in the absence of any opportunity to make a grovelling apology, I have said sorry to someone whose birthday I missed, along with belated good wishes, and sorry to someone who I didn't make a cup of tea for and given them a fresh cup.

MUCH more enlightening for me was working out how to acknowledge and accept an apology from someone vulnerable who said sorry to me for a very small mistake. That was when I was able to think and work out how I could start to Love Life and Live Lent.

I wonder if tomorrow's task is to say thank you to someone?

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