Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

The Apology. How to let go of being right and be in relationship.



IMG_20140210_0003My father was not a man to say “I’m sorry.” Apologies were for the weak. Strong men never backed down.

To apologize is to be willing to admit you made a mistake. Hurt someone. Caused harm. Apologies are a way of acknowledging the other person matters to you. That you see that what you did does not sit well with them. And, it’s a way to acknowledge your own humanness.

The challenge of being unable to apologize is, it makes the need to be perfect stronger.

When you are driven by the need to ‘be perfect’, it is impossible to accept you might have made a mistake or hurt someone.

The drive for perfection is a killer of intimacy. No one can get through this life without causing someone else harm. We are human. Humans make mistakes. Though our intention may be not to hurt someone, we cannot control, nor know, how someone else will receive our truth. And sometimes, in emotionally charged moments, we do not deliver our truth with grace and ease. We serve it up fully loaded, expecting the other to be able to swallow it in one easy bite. Instead, all it does is cause them indigestion.

Apologies have impact. They are a way of telling someone you unintentionally, or intentionally, hurt that they matter to you. That you see by their reaction to whatever you did, that you caused them pain. And in your apology you are telling them that. “I see you and you matter to me more than standing my ground matters to me.”

You are telling them that they are more important than the momentary thrill of revenge, or getting even or whatever you received from your actions, gave you.

Apology is easy, once you get over yourself.

Next time you do something you can see caused someone harm, let go of your desire to be right and try this instead:

  1. Take a breath. Now, ask yourself. “What’s the story I’m telling myself about this situation? Am I justifying my ‘rightness’? Am I building a case against them so I don’t have to look at me?”
  2. Take another breath. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen if I acknowledge where I was at in this situation was not as altruistic or ‘right’ as I make it out to be? What if I let go of being right and moved instead into being in relationship? What would I do differently?
  3. Take another breath. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of my position to make room for both our positions in this conversation? Am I willing to see that my being right makes them wrong — And that is a lose/lose.”
  4. Keep breathing. Now, ask yourself, “What am I willing to do to create relationship? What can I do to allow both of us to cross from separate sides to common ground?
  5. Big, deep slow breath. Now, ask yourself, “Am I the problem here? Is my reluctance to admit what I did to create this situation, the reason the situation is continuing to fester? Am I willing to think with my heart and give my ego a break? Am I willing to acknowledge, I am human.”

If the answers to Question 5 are anything other than ‘yes’, begin at the beginning again. If you did answer ‘yes’, then an apology is the shortest distance between two hearts. Apologies given from a place of acknowledging your role in creating the situation, create space for forgiveness, and relationship, to blossom.

And let’s be careful here. An apology is not about saying, “I’m sorry I made you feel _________________.” That’s like saying, “I was right to do what I did. It’s your bad you’re feeling that way. So sorry.”

An apology is about acknowledging that what you did caused someone else harm and you honestly want to fix it. As in, “I see that what I did by_________________ hurt you. I apologize. I do not want to hurt you. I value you and want to be in relationship with you. I want to cross this bridge so we can be together on the same side. Is there something I can do to help fix this?”

Yesterday, C.C. my beloved did something that irritated me. He did not do it intentionally. In fact, what he did was not all that critical and was easily fixed. Me. I wanted to make it a federal case. I wanted to rub salt into the wound of what I judged to be his thoughtlessness. (I was tired okay?)

Here’s the thing. My being tired does not give me the right to be rude or inconsiderate or to sit in judgement.

C.C. is a wise man. He let my bad behaviour go and asked me for a hug.

It takes a lot of work to carry a judgement or grudge across a bridge when the one you love is holding you safely in their embrace.

Apologies build bridges. They create connection. They ease tension and, as my eldest daughter explained it once, apologies replace pain with Love. In the aftermath of a relationship with a man who hurt all of us badly, when I apologized for what I did in that relationship to cause them pain and fear, the river of pain separating us kept getting replaced with love. Eventually, the pain flowed away and all that was left was love.

I like a world where no matter what happens, all that is present is Love.




Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

15 thoughts on “The Apology. How to let go of being right and be in relationship.

  1. LG,

    being a real estate guy I always thought the three most important things were location, location, location

    maybe I should consider a new mantra – apology, apology, apology!

    good piece




    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re such a smart guy!

    and btw — I got your message — you got time for lunch this week? Thursday works great for me…


  3. I like the taking a breath part. I always know I will come around eventually if I am wrong. But to acknowledge it and stay in the moment without storming off and just breathing is an concept! LOL. Thank you! I am going to work on it~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Louise maybe we DID have the same Father! Well said…..tremendous growth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Apology is easy once you get over yourself.”
    Wow. I love that! Going in my little quote book, friend.
    Thank you;) I really needed this nourishing soup…my heart
    is restored. Thank you for creating such goodness and serving
    it up fresh,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that my words ripple across the distance to create a song of hope and love and nourishment in your heart Jennifer. It is the reciprocity of this space. Your words and photos always creates waves of joy within my heart. I love to be giving back! Hugs


  6. Apologies open hearts that are closed .. On both sides. At the end of the day, isn’t it about – are open to love or closed to it?
    We learn so much from our parents. I too had a rigid,heart protected perfectionist of a father. He softened towards the end and left this world with an open heart. I hope he found peace beyond.
    Thank you for this thoughtful post Louise. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • So very true Val. I love that your father’s heart softened to allow him to leave this world with an open heart. My father’s heart broke at the end when he suffered a massive heart attack. I like to think it was his heart’s way of breaking open to love so that he could leave this world in peace. Hugs. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Louise, this post has come at an important cross-roads for me. I have been struggling so much to try to forgive Anthony’s brother and just haven’t been able to do it! Then Ming said, “But he doesn’t matter, Mum”. All of a sudden I feel released from this pressure to forgive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What matters Julie is you, Anthony, Ming — those who are around you and support you and love you and want the best for you. Ming is so right — if you do not have an inclination, feel safe or not want to be in relationship with someone — building relationship doesn’t matter.

      I didn’t write this in my post but these ideas work for people who do not have a personality disorder — when someone is operating from a gimme, gimme, it’s all about me perspective — being in relationship is hard – and often unsafe. Holding space to give yourself the grace of not being in relationship is what matters.

      Hooray for Ming! Horoay for you Mulie — what matters is you have peace, and love, and loving care all around you.

      Much love my dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person



  9. Took my father 33 years to say I’m sorry for the way he treated my mother. He denied it every time, the abuse as if we imagined it! I forgave a long time ago but it took him forever to ask for my forgiveness.


This conversation needs your brilliance to shine. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s