I had a free hour last night and used it to catch up on the Oprah Show. I don’t exactly remember who she was interviewing but they joked a lot about the phrase “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” And Oprah said something to the effect “Love is always having to say you’re sorry!”
How so true!
Yet this is probably the hardest part of my work as a love coach; explaining to men and women , young and old that “love” is not always about how “high” you ride, but how you deal with the “low”.
Very rarely do I get to talk to clients when things are “really great” in the relationship. Most of my clients come to me when things “are not going well”, “really bad” or when “it’s over”. In some weird way, I actually like it because, the way someone deals with the low-lows of their relationships tells me a lot about the “real” person.
When things are “really great” in our relationships we’re positive, upbeat and confident. There is no a reason to say “I’m sorry” because we’re always in our best behaviour. But when we’re sad or mad, our “true colours” can sometimes be hard to hide. The masks come off and we’re our “real” selves.
And lucky for me, I get to deal with the “real” person.
What has this have to do with “Love is always having to say you’re sorry!”
Many men and women – young and old – don’t know how, don’t want to or simply can’t deal with the low-lows of a relationship. They have this “fantasy” illusion that relationships are supposed to be “great” all the time and when a relationship hits a low, they’re not just baffled they’re completely shattered, lost.
This is a very vulnerable place to be especially for men and women who are afraid of being vulnerable. Vulnerability forces us to express who we really are and for someone used to wearing a “mask” (sometimes many of them), feeling vulnerable can be scary – very scary.
Because they’ve held back what they perceived as “negative” feelings for so long preferring to only present “good behaviour”, they never learned how to truly deal with those feelings – and it’s apparent in how they communicate and try to resolve what happened, how it happened and why.
Most times, communication contains contradictory messages like when I ask, “How are you feeling today?” The answer is something like:
“I’m feeling better” [pause]… things have been really great this week… [longer pause]… I guess what I’m trying to say is…[silence].
The silence is often followed by deep-heartfelt sobbing. It’s sincere, it’s genuine, it’s from the heart – from a place of vulnerability. But occasionally there are those who try to change the topic by asking me “And how have you been?” and others just get angry… “You know what… I don’t like people asking me how I’m feeling. I don’t know how I am feeling. Okay?!”
Or I might ask, “How have things been?” (referring to the relationship). The answer can be something like:
“Not very different… [pause]… Don’t get me wrong, I love Mary/John but I think… I think… [pause]… I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. …[longer pause]… Mary/John is a great woman/guy…”
In both examples, the person is communicating a “negative” feeling but trying so hard to clothe it beautifully using positive- sounding words.
They are usually reluctant to express the “negative” feelings because they’ve bought into the notion that those “negative” feelings (annoyance, frustration, disappointment, anger, etc) are not part of love. Love, after all is never having to say you’re sorry.
The saddest part is many of these people never get to experience a relationship grounded on mutual understanding and genuineness. They’re so busy adjusting the “mask” (sometimes replacing one with another) that the other person doesn’t know how they truly feel – or who they truly are.
Occasionally the “true colours” show and the other person is disappointed, withdraws or takes off. The person concludes that it’s better to hide one’s true feelings — and/or Self.
This is not always true. The reason most men and women feel disappointed, withdraw or take off when they get to meet the “real you” is not because of YOU but because they feel (and rightly so) deceived, betrayed, cheated. They were drawn to or fell in love with one version of you and now they find out (sometimes gradually over time) that they are in a relationship with a completely different version of you.
But if from the very beginning you are true to who you are and comfortable expressing your true feelings even if it means occasionally and when appropriate a show of disappointment, anger or stress, your relationship can and will weather the low-lows of a relationship because it’s grounded on mutual understanding and genuineness.
Of course that means always having to say “I’m sorry” because as a human being, you can never always be in your “best behaviour”. It’s all part of love!