Sunday, April 5, 2015

Let it go....

(Written for IndiSpire #59)

Yesterday, I asked my six year old son which word he likes more - Sorry or Thank you? Surprisingly, he said, "Sorry". I further questioned him why he chose this. His reply was that it is a small word, easy to say, and "I know what it means. I am familiar with the feeling." I knew that what he was saying was true. In his play dates and on a day-to-day basis, I had seen him feeling sorry, but not saying that easily. I had seen the look on his face when he got angry over something and expected the other person to apologize. (At the other end of the spectrum, as a mom grooming my little beast as per social etiquettes, I felt that I have to help him discover the feeling of gratitude now. Hmm...tough work ahead! )
I have also observed through my kids that although they find it difficult to articulate an apology, their acceptance of an apology is instant. The moment their friend says sorry, they start over again as if nothing has happened. No explanations are needed. Sorry and Its Okay are the only words that suffice.

My Sorry is not enough, You need to accept it too!

It is interesting to see how pets feel sorry too. My lovely dog is now no more, but I remember that when she crossed certain boundaries of behavior and was reminded of what she had done, she would lay flat on the floor, with drooping eyelids, a face dejected, a tail bent down. When we called her name, she would timidly crawl towards us, with low-murmuring whimper and if we embraced her, she would instantly feel delighted and normal again.

With us grown-ups, sorry becomes complicated. 

A clarification first - Sorry is enough for mistakes, not crimes. Crimes require greater repair, both in the life of the victim and in that of the criminal. 

Mistakes are misdemeanors occurring in between relationships. Hearts are broken, expectations belied, trusts shaken. 

With us grown-ups, a certain level of egoism creeps in. We feel offended and consider a mistake as a transgression against our inner self. Often people who have the big heart of letting go are the ones who are more receptive to apologies. My husband often tells me that before I start judging anyone, before I start complaining, before I start staining the other's collar with blame, I ought to find out Why. Sometimes, when I do that, my anger dispels. In the process of finding out what made the other person do what s/he did, I suspend my own self and adopt a perspective that is not my own. In such scenarios, I accept sorry and let go easily. I realize that a sorry is not enough, its acceptance is necessary too.

Some people think that sorry is enough, no explanations are needed. If a person has regret, that is enough. But I differ on this matter. I think that when explanations are elicited, it works well for both parties. The perpetrator of a simple transgression gets a chance to clear himself/herself from guilt. The one who is angry gets a chance to see why a certain mistake happened and can in the process train his/her mind to analyze before getting angry. It is an activity in self-improvement. We learn from mistakes, done by us, and done to us.

Sorry is a word that helps in healing. It requires a suspension of self. It requires an embrace of the other's self. Its acceptance too is a similar quitting of 'I' factor to let the other in. I am reminded of Deepika Padukone's My Choice here. I had problems with the video precisely because it overlooked the existence of the other person in harmony with 'me'. (You can read my views on the topic here I clarify again that sorry is not enough for greater crimes.

So, in a relationship, learn the art of forgiving and forgetting. It is imperative for an apology to function. 

(If you like my post, I feel good. If you comment, I feel great.)


  1. Totally agree with you. The art of forgiving and forgetting is extremely important for a relationship to bloom and grow :)

    1. right purba.....often when we feel sorry is not enough, we are ourselves unwilling to let go....

  2. Sorry is a powerful word as much as thank-you. Well but it's not that powerful to erase all your mistakes. Some mistakes go along with lives. So better think before doing. I remember one thing my mom said once that I still adhere to in my life,"Never say sorry for the same thing." It doesn't mean you do that mistake again and again and take it granted. Rather don't repeat your mistake. Well done. :)

    1. moms are so full of wisdom....true, if you repeat the same mistake again, then you were not sorry the first time you said it.....and the second time, it loses its is difficult to erase memories but a receptive heart heals more quickly than a non-receptive one.....