It’s not that I’m a grudge holder. Really. In fact, several years ago when I catapulted myself into a journey of forgiveness for someone who had wronged me, I measured my capacity for forgiveness at the outset, and it turned out I’m in the normal-range of forgivers.
It’s the apology that sets my teeth on edge. Because here’s how it usually plays out:
ME: Here’s why you hurt my feelings… (I tell you how you hurt my feelings).
YOU: I’m sorry. I can see why your feelings were hurt. It wasn’t my intention.
ME: Thank you.
And then, it happens again.
You do the same thing, because the apology that you expressed was really about dispelling the tension between us – getting your ass out of the doghouse – and it did not take into account how you might behave differently in the future when, predictably, the same scenario presents itself.
Which is why your apology feels empty.
What I want is for you to make amends.
Making amends requires you to hear how you wronged me and it requires you to ask me What would make this better? To which I would instantly say, I want you to identify a strategy for not doing it again in the future, and then commit to following that strategy.
That way you haven’t just fixed the moment between us. You’ve invested the time and thought necessary to ensure that this won’t happen again in the future.
Which makes me feel loved.
Because, to me, actions speak louder than words.