Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Tag Archives: Disconnect

Choosing to say sorry – the power of apology.

What power is there in saying sorry?

What power is there in saying sorry?

Talking about pride inevitably leads to the need for saying sorry – after all, it is one of life’s biggest clichés that pride comes before a fall. The child learning to walk that we thought about last week falls repeatedly, but generally gets back up again and has another shot. Perhaps with a few tears, perhaps needing some reassurance from a nearby provider of TLC.

But falls over, realises the need to get back up, and is not afraid to try again. How willing are we to take the same approach? When we get it wrong, how often does our pride keep us flat on our faces in our mistakes, unwilling to say sorry and seek to make amends?

We all make mistakes – to err is human after all. None of us is perfect, and saying sorry is about taking personal responsibility for our actions. We get it wrong in so many ways – by what we say and do, or what we fail to say and do. Sins of omission or sins of commission both.

Imagine a situation where two parties have fallen out.

Years have passed, but there have been no words exchanged between them, despite a previous close friendship. The cause of the fall out is so far in the distant past as to have been forgotten, but pride keeps both parties walled up behind an unwillingness to make the first move towards apology and reconciliation.

Strikes me as being desperately sad, and a tragic waste.

Even sadder when this happens within families, and loved ones go to their graves embittered with unspoken hurts and resentments, too consumed by pride or fear to break down barriers and regain love and hope.

The 1970 film Love Story contained the famous line,

Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

The idea behind this is that unconditional love should enable us to make allowances for people to an unlimited degree, despite their failings. To me, this is not only wrong, but very damaging. The toxic combination of hurt, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness that can ensue in the absence of true repentance and forgiveness can literally poison someone from the inside, eating them alive. [Of course, herein lies a different choice – choosing to forgive when there is no apology forthcoming – more next week.]

What do we want to be known for?

Admitting we got it wrong and saying sorry takes courage and humility. A willingness to accept responsibility for our own actions.

Perhaps it is easier to apportion blame onto the other, to play the victim, to seek to excuse our behaviour with endless mediating factors.

But who does that make us? What example are we giving to those around us?

When we have been the cause of hurt, of whatever magnitude, the route back to healing and restoration comes through those two most courageous words

I’m sorry.”

Followed by the equally humble,

Can you forgive me?”

It can be tempting to add qualifiers and justifiers to excuse ourselves or try and save face. But a simple, unconditional apology has the potential to powerfully unlock an impasse of hurt and prevent it escalating into resentment and bitterness. It allows the wronged party to offer forgiveness, releases them from hurt and potential bitterness.

When have there been times in your life that you have missed an opportunity to say sorry? What situation did that lead to, and what difference would a humble apology have made?

Is there a situation of hurt or disconnect that you find yourself in just now that is of your own making?

Perhaps a little self reflection: What is that relationship worth – more or less than your own pride?

Picture that relationship restored and healthy. What would a good outcome be?

Then make a choice – to let go of pride and fear, and say sorry.

Disconnect to reconnect: Is this possible?

Disconnect to reconnect

Disconnect to reconnect

If I say to you: “Why don’t you…”, your age and where you were brought up will probably dictate your answer. Those of you in my (undefined!!) age bracket who lived in the UK as kids will likely reply immediately….

…just switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead!”

“Why don’t you…” was on television during the school holidays when I was a child. It’s aim was to encourage children to get outside and do something fun, creative, physical, bonkers – you name it, but anything other than sitting in front of a screen. Now that was 4 decades ago (OK, given it away there) but my, how much we need that advice today.

There is a growing voice on – ironically – social media, the radio, and in print that is talking about the need we modern livers have to disconnect from our 24 hour technology and release and restore our brains. I have spoken about this often, and am increasingly aware of the challenges and temptations to engage in all-things-screen as I watch my children grow up. Technology is not going to go away, and there are some great devices, gadgets, games, apps, out there that have transformed how we live.

But as I say to my children, we choose to control technology, not have it control us. We need to learn to disconnect to reconnect.

As we meander through the implications and challenges of living in a society where burnout is becoming increasingly common, this need to disconnect is crucial. I know of 20-somethings who recognise that they are addicted to their smart phones. I heard of a primary school age child who refused a school residential trip because he could not be away from his games consoles and phone. I know the impact on my brain in the deepest recesses of the night when I can’t sleep and can’t switch off and my head is in a vice and the electronic noise is crushing.

So – how do we learn to disconnect to reconnect?

  • who is in charge – you or your phone? What messages are you giving to those around you about how important they are versus who is texting or messaging you? Consider what is most important to you now – and what you are setting up for the future. Create boundaries around technology use when with family and friends.
  • it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to an original task after an interruption. So imagine at work, constantly having emails ping whilst you are trying to focus on some significant project or task. Research published in The New York Times in 2013 suggested that allowing ourselves to be constantly interrupted by texts or social media – trying to do two things at once – is actually robbing us of brain power. So switch off distractions. Focus on the task at hand, and then once completed, stop. Resist the temptation to revisit it endlessly and fret. Accept when you have done enough and let it go.
  • put time limits on use of social media
  • work out what the life-giving, refreshing alternatives for you are to constantly being plugged in. The more you know yourself, the more you can be in control of choices. A good book, a talk with a friend, exercise or a walk, a hot bath, listening to music, a social activity, craft or hobby. Whatever it is, what restores and refreshes your weary, over-connected brain and allows you to switch off? Unless you have a viable, attractive alternative lined up, it is all too easy in our brain-weary state to feel we have to be available constantly, push ourselves too hard, not let work go, trawl mindlessly through pages of internet.

So this week, I encourage us to look long and hard at when we are connected electronically, to what and – crucially – why.

And what are we disconnected from as a consequence.

What is most important to us? How can we disconnect to the technological world and reconnect to the actual world?

 

 

 

 

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