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Tiny Wisdom: How to Say You’re Sorry

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” -Kimberly Howard

Yesterday I wrote about realizing that we don’t need to justify our feelings–but there is another side to that coin: we need to realize that having difficult feelings does not justify poor choices.

This is something I have often struggled with. Though I have made massive improvements through the years, when I feel overwhelmed by fear, grief, stress, or anything else that hurts, my instinct is often to numb it or do something with it.

Most times I consciously ignore that instinct and simply sit in the messiness of my emotions. My adolescence and twenties taught me that this is vital to my survival. But sometimes, when I feel especially powerless, I resist.

That’s what I did yesterday after a doctor gave me some bad news, that may, in fact, be far less scary than it seems. I resisted. And then I went to a restaurant with my boyfriend, where one margarita led to another, and ultimately magnified my emotions.

I made a bad choice, and then I felt bad about that and the surgery I may need to have.

I realized after apologizing to my boyfriend that I also needed to apologize to myself. I owed myself an apology for using the severity of my fear to justify an unhealthy choice; and also, for being hard on myself instead of learning from the experience and letting go.

That’s what a strong apology often does: it allows us to move on.

So today I apologize to myself with no excuses. I used poor judgment yesterday. It’s humbling to admit it, especially since I know people expect more from me. I expect more from me. I also know this isn’t the most flattering story to share.

But I am a work-in-progress. We all are. We can never change what we’ve already done, but we can continue to learn and grow if we’re willing to be honest with ourselves.

Today if you find yourself making excuses for a bad decision, remember: what’s done is done, but you can move on and forgive yourself if you take responsibility and learn.

Photo by kurisuuu

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. She recently launched a Mindfulness Kit to help reduce our stress and increase our peace and joy. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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