Apologizing to self is a radical act of self-care and self-love
Have you ever written yourself an apology note?
This may seem overly simplistic, but discovering that forgiveness wasn’t something solely reserved for others — was a life-altering discovery for me when I first began my emotional healing journey (which btw is a work-in-progress). Life isn’t all about forgiving others. Remember, we can’t pour from an empty pitcher. In other words, you can’t give away that which you don’t first give to yourself. Quite a novel concept, huh?!
All that to say, I owe myself an apology and you may want to pull out a pad of paper and pen too! Something tells me you might be writing yourself soon as well.
I seriously over-packed for a recent trip to visit the no-longer-resident teenager at college. And no, I’m not talking about my clothes, shoes and toiletries…I’m talking about the excess emotional baggage I toted along with me.
Sometimes we just can’t get out of our own way, thus setting ourselves up for a bumpy ride. We like to believe that a change of pace and environment, will change how we’re feeling — as if jetting off to some glamorous location will solve the problems of our world. But the reality is that we bring the ‘whole’ of us wherever we go — to work, our personal lives and even on vacation.
This is where expectation can become a dirty word. I’m not talking about the positive affirmations or intentions we set for ourselves. I’m referring to the expectation that we should be able to leave the unsavory parts of ourselves at home, bypass and discard the distasteful and shameful bits. If only. Think of the excess baggage fees we could all avoid!
I’ve been processing a bunch of stuff the past few months. I can’t say that I’m particularly enjoying it (note the sarcasm). Yet, on the other hand, I’m actually OK with it because I know it is a part of my journey. I trust that it is leading me somewhere I need to go — and will make more sense down the road. That in itself is huge progress for me. I’ve said this before, they don’t call it a ‘journey’ for nothing. Besides, I actually initiated it because subconsciously.
My soul knew I was ready — and the only thing that grows in a stagnant puddle is mold. Time to bust-a-move.
So me, myself and my expectations recently traveled to the sunny beaches of Miami, plopped down in a lovely hotel overlooking the ocean and quickly discovered that my angst had come along for the ride. Wait a minute, what are you doing here?
I guess the ol’, ‘you can run, but you can’t hide’ adage was at play — and even the warm sea breezes wafting through my hair, the sand in my toes, the perceived happy selfies and the piña coladas by the pool couldn’t erase the internal emotional stirrings, try as I may. Of course I initially tried to resist, deny, ignore, stuff it in my beach bag…and as expected…fell into guilt. HOW could I feel anything but joy standing on my terrace overlooking this tropical paradise? Shame on you.
Resistance comes sauntering in like a quick fix. It misleads us into thinking we can circumnavigate something. But you know yourself, whatever it is that you are struggling with, will only be ignored for so long — and will likely find its way out, one way or another. We’ve all been there, wasted energy and then regretted it. And the tricky thing about it, is that it breeds more of the same.
But we are where we are and we feel what we feel…and for good reason. I’ve spent so much of my past hiding from my story, only to find myself in a position of helping others bring forth their own truth and stories. Perhaps it’s time for a spoonful of my own medicine.
So here’s my apology note:
Self, I’m so sorry for putting you through this. You’ve been juggling a lot lately and certainly didn’t need the added dose of denial I tried to add to the equation. Thanks for staying the course. Thanks for reminding me that you couldn’t just think happy thoughts and make this experience fade away (no matter the setting). And most of all, thanks for letting me be OK with it — for helping me see this, for making it safe to settle into.
And I’m sorry for attempting to strong-arm you into being anything other than what you were feeling. I apologize for holding you to the expectations of others — for making you believe you had to show up any other way than who you are. Oh, and thanks for hanging in there with me, staying the course and putting up with my bullS#%T. You’re pretty awesome…and you know what…you’ve got this…and I’ve got this because of you. Deep bow of gratitude.
After a few days of beating myself up for not feeling triumphantly joyous and grateful to be in that beautiful hotel on that beautiful beach with my beautiful boy…I simply exhaled and let the pressure right out of my being (and belly). We store so much angst in our physical selves, far more than we consciously tap into — even when we know it to be true.
In admitting my angst, in verbalizing my turmoil, in letting the tears flow…the battle within actually subsided incredibly quickly.
It’s ok to bring all of you along for the ride. It’s ok to not respond ‘fine’ when someone asks you how you are. And it’s ok to give yourself the time to feel it all. Most of all, it’s ok to overpack. Your truth-telling will set you free and help you connect to a deeper part of yourself. And all the energy that was previously expended on deflection suddenly becomes healing salve.
Denial is just a detour. Look, things will set us off. And reactionary mode leads us into our not-so-best selves. So, remember the power of self-awareness, the power of allowing, the power of forgiving and the power of shifting.
We are not defined by the missteps we make, but rather by what we do with them afterwards.
Nurture what’s coming up for you. You’re ready for it. And if you have to overstuff your bag, so be it. Because you are divine. Your journey is unique and necessary. Be kind to yourself.
You might even want to write yourself a love note, a soul kiss from your best self.
As always, I love hearing from you. This is the space where our collective sharing becomes a collective healing — where a piece of your story becomes a piece of mine and vice versa. Do you owe yourself an apology? Let me hear in the comments below.