Don’t Be Sorry, Be Specific

This is something that I’ve been doing and sharing for a good while now, and then I heard my guy Matt Kahn talk about it and phrase it in a really clear way. Those enlightened people tend to do that sometimes… And yes, I totally have a man crush on this dude, in case you couldn’t tell. So here we go: Don’t be sorry, be specific. Here’s what that means. Most of us say “I’m sorry,” and our heads are hanging down very low. We feel sorry, as if we’re a sorry excuse for a human. As if we’re a sorry piece of [bleep]. And that’s the vibe we’re putting out, too. We’re coming from a place of weakness and insecurity, and we’re also being really codependent. Because we desperately need the other person to forgive us so we can feel good again. Sound familiar, even if only a little bit? Let’s consider trying this a different way.

Instead of saying you’re sorry, say why. Be specific. Say what you wish had happened. Say how you wish you had acted. Say what you wish you had said, and in the tone of voice with which you wish you had said it. Doesn’t this feel better? Doesn’t it promote clear communication and growth in a relationship? Doesn’t it come from a place of strength? Because you are NOT sorry, in that you aren’t some sorry sap, some poor excuse for a human! Because that doesn’t exist. Read or listen to something like Dying To Be Me if you have not, because it describes what you already are. Or watch Afterlife on Netflix. Sorry beings don’t exist, and we’re in the process of owning that, even when it doesn’t seem to be true. And trust me, it often doesn’t seem to be true for me!

So let’s look at a classic example. You’ve had a long day, you come home, and a loved one asks you a question. And you snap at them. And they did not deserve it. Maybe it turns into an argument, maybe it doesn’t. And you feel awful, because you’re feeling your thinking, and the deeper part of you knows that wasn’t your best, not even close. The deeper part of you knows that was not appropriate. It knows that’s now how you want to show up in the world, and it knows that person didn’t deserve it. So instead of just saying, “I’m sorry,” say exactly why. Be strong about it, and you can even be excited because of how you’re handling it now. The growth is way faster this way, and you can be very proud of that. “I’m sorry for how I responded to you. I was carrying stress from work, and I put it out on you. You did not deserve that – nobody ever deserves that – and that’s not how I want to treat you or anyone else, ever. And I’m practicing not doing that anymore, because I truly don’t want to do that anymore. And I totally understand if you’re angry with me.”

Now take a breath. How does that feel when you read it? Doesn’t it feel a lot different than just saying you’re sorry? It also opens the door for the other person’s input. There might be things they need to say, things you need to hear. Again, growth is the goal here. The more open the communication, the better. And trust me again, I know it ain’t always easy! I am NOT a naturally honest person when it comes to hurting people’s feelings, and that’s something I’m working on. It’s not that I’m some liar, not even close. It’s just that I’m super sensitive with others and I’m learning about that. And the universe has given me a good bit of practice in that area in the last couple of years!

Wait, you know what? Let’s talk more about that in a future post. It’ll be called The Edge. Thanks for the reminder, because it’s an important subject. As a preview, the edge of where you’re comfortable is like a wall made of energy. You feel it in your body, pretty cool. It might feel like a cringe, a lump or pit, or an energetic STOP. But you know what? The breath can melt it so that it gets pushed out a little more, and a little more, and a little more. The key is to just take a deep breath, and then speak from the heart. Get one word out at a time. And your edge just moved. Wow. And I’m going to New Orleans in a little while to see U2 tonight! And their guitarist is named The Edge. So a nice little synchronicity there.

So there we go, folks, a little post with a different take on saying you’re sorry. I hope you enjoyed it, and feel free to take a gentle and innocent look at how this might help you in your life! As always, I’m here to help if I can. And finally… peace out 🙂