Hello, I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Almost at the end of 2020 – what a year!
This week, I’m going to talk about reflection and apologising. I like to think I’m a reflective person. I do like to consider whether there has been an opportunity for me to learn something about myself and my responses and see if I can grow as a person as a result.
What is reflection? Reflection is when we give serious thought or consideration and create an opportunity to learn about ourselves – usually with the aim of understanding our responses and communications with others – to help us be the best version of ourselves that we can be. (not to be confused with over-analysing which often focuses on negatives and blame) reflection can help us to consider learning points and reaffirm our positive aspects.
I do love to learn, both personally and professionally, and reflection is a great way to consider why we have responded the way we have to a certain event, situation or person, and look at whether we could respond differently to achieve a more positive outcome. Thinking about what it is we hope to achieve.
It can also be really useful for separating feeling from fact too. For example, if you have a conversation with someone and you feel a certain way about it (dismissed, devalued, unimportant etc) you can reflect on the intent of the other person and what they actually said. Did they intend to make you feel bad? Or did they happen to say something that triggered you? Utter a key word or phrase that was enough to evoke a feeling in you that isn’t relevant to this conversation.
That’s not to say we should dismiss our feelings. There is always a reason that we feel the way we do. Just explore why we feel the way we do.
Our memory may go on high alert when we hear a particular phrase or see a particular mannerism or behaviour, and sub-consciously, we are joining the dots in our head. Sending a warning to ourselves that last time someone said this thing or behaved this way, we felt bad, and it’s happening again. This can then trigger the same feeling or response as last time which may be anger, feeling upset, or storming out and not engaging in the conversation.
Our brain does this to protect us, but what if it is jumping the gun and reacting to something unnecessarily? This is where reflection comes in. We can have a think about whether that person meant to upset us, or did we assume they were intending to upset us because our brain started sending out warning signals? Or let’s not discount the option……were they genuinely being rude or disrespectful?
Often, after a period of reflection, comes the realisation that we may have over-reacted, or misread a situation or intention, and then we may feel that maybe we could offer an apology for our part. Taking responsibility, being the best person we can be. Sometimes, upon reflection, we don’t consider that we have over-reacted and are just laying down boundaries for acceptable treatment. Wanting respect and consideration from others.
For some people, apologies are easy, some even apologise all the time, even when there is no need. (something to reflect on?) For others, it’s not so easy. You’ve heard the expression, ‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word’ So what makes it so difficult? Pride? Guilt? Vulnerability? Fear that the apology will be rejected? Maybe it is accepting that you may have misread the situation and taking responsibility for that is hard.
Reflecting on why an apology is so hard can help us to learn to take responsibility, overcome the reasons why we find it hard, and make amends with those we have fallen out with.
Giving or receiving an apology can make all the difference to being able to move forward in a positive way and put disagreements or misunderstandings behind us.
What’s the worst that can happen? Your apology is not accepted? Even if this is the case, you can still feel better knowing that you have made a genuine heartfelt apology.
Have a lovely week and maybe you can make a few moments for yourself to reflect..