Have you ever felt that “knife under the ribcage” experience when you’re really resenting someone for something they did or failed to do?
And then, have you ever felt incredible relief that you couldn’t have predicted when they sincerely apologize?
If so, you might be curious about what lies beneath such relief.
What it comes down to is that a part of your “Shadow” that you feel most ashamed of settles down when you receive a sincere apology.
Our shadow is the part of our personality that has dark and negative aspects that cause us to feel shame. And the darker those aspects, the more shame we feel.
Shame is when we do, fail to do or even think and feel things that are less than who we believe ourselves to be (whereas guilt is what we feel after we’ve done something wrong).
The “knife under the ribcage” feeling is often related not merely to resentment, but to hatred. Sometimes that hatred reaches the level of wishing awful things will happen to a person who has hurt us. When that occurs, we can unconsciously think, “OMG, I’m just like my mother or father who was close to evil. I don’t think I can accept or even live with knowing that.”
Sincere and deep apologies from people who have hurt us give us the opportunity to lessen our hateful feelings and our shame about having them.
Not infrequently, when someone apologizes to us, we will not only forgive them, but will reciprocate with an apology of our own. Our apology is not about having done anything wrong by being resentful towards the other person, but about wanting to relieve our shameful feelings that there is something seriously wrong with us by having such hateful feelings.
Who can you apologize to that will help you as much as it helps them?