Did someone in your past hurt you to the point where you can’t let go? Were you abused as a child by a parent, guardian, or another adult? Or were you mistreated as a young adult and you’re still waiting for that person to apologize for what they did?
You are a beautiful, talented, and precious individual. The people you love need you here and now—100%. But it’s very possible that past experiences may be holding you back from living your dreams and being fully present for them. There’s also a chance you’re never going to get the apology you’ve needed for so long. So what do you do about it? Give yourself the permission you’ve been waiting for to be the wonderful person—and parent, friend, companion—you were intended to be.
Inspired by her own experience of writing the letter of apology she knew she was never going to get, author Valerie Utton wrote Letters of Apology: How to Stop Waiting for Permission to Be the Wonderful Person You Are (Inkwell Productions, 2007). In it she compiles a collection of anonymously written letters of apology contributed by people who were truly sorry for the hurt they imposed on others. Then, with encouragement and guidance, she inspires readers with the knowledge that they can write the letter of apology they’ve been waiting for, freeing themselves in the process. In her book she says:
“The truth is that we don’t need anybody’s apology to tell us who we are. The idea that anyone can give us permission to believe in our own true innate self worth is nothing more than an illusion that can be exposed as easily as we can expose the magic of pulling a coin out of a child’s ear.”
Like many, I was mistreated as a child. Through my own healing, I realized I had to come up with the apology I was due on my own. I learned that in order to be the person I wanted to be, I had to rid myself of the anger and hatred for that person so I could forgive and move on. Ultimately, that act of forgiveness was for me and not the person who hurt me.
So why don’t we all apologize for the things we did (and do) that hurt others? Some avoid apologizing because thinking about what they did brings up feelings of shame and embarrassment. Parents who have done things that hurt their children don’t always step up to apologize. It’s easier to push it away instead of dealing with it head on. What they don’t know is that their child may be waiting for an apology before they move on with their life.
Valerie says that apologies should be simple and straight forward. She said they can be difficult to hear and accept if they are diluted with indirect blame and justifications. But a true, healing apology should include just seven words, I’m sorry I did this to you. That’s it! Is there a letter of apology you need to write to yourself or someone else today?