Today I missed my girlfriend’s online workshop. I had RSVP’d and told her I would be there to support her. I forgot. I am not proud that I forgot. In fact, I feel like shit! When I realized what I had done I commenced to kick myself mightily, and then I wrote an apology.
As an educator I spent many years teaching students how to apologize. Somehow, they believed that all they had to say was “I’m sorry,” and everything was better. When I asked them what they were sorry for they looked at me in disbelief. And most of the time they had no idea what it was they were supposed to be sorry for. They had been taught to say the words and then go on with life. Because of this I would see the same students in my office for the same things over and over. I finally realized that I needed to teach my students how to apologize.
I am sorry my actions hurt you.
I am sorry you are feeling bad about my choices.
Both of these statements usually match my feelings when I find out that people are angry or hurt about a choice that I made because it was the best one for me. Now, don’t think I go around not caring about other people, because I do. What I have stopped doing is feeling sorry for taking care of myself. I have stopped sacrificing myself for other people’s happiness and I have learned to be honest about it.
Back to today. After writing and sending my apology I had a “Come to Jesus” talk with myself. Here’s how it went.
- You don’t usually miss things that you put on your calendar.
- Why did you miss this one?
- I was enjoying my freeform down time at home this morning. I needed a day to chill and not be anywhere. It’s been a stressful week and I just wanted to unplug.
- Hmm… I wish I had allowed myself to be aware of this sooner so that I could have told my friend BEFORE the workshop.
I am still sorry that my actions caused my friend pain, but hopefully my self reflection this time will help me avoid making a similar mistake in the future. In the meantime, I will keep my apology outline ready for use anytime an apology is appropriate.