I am a firm believer in releasing anger and not harboring hate toward anyone. Firm believer. Allowing another person’s wrongdoing to cultivate hate in you is like handing them the sword they just stabbed you with, and allowing them to stab you again.
However, that does not mean that every person who wrongs you and tells you they’re sorry deserves a seat at your table.
Let me explain.
When people wrong you, often times there is genuine remorse after. They realize what they did, they feel awful for hurting you, and you can see that in the way they apologize. It also extends well past the apology. When someone is actually sorry for wronging you, they make an attempt to change their behavior and try not make the same mistakes after said apology.
That does not mean that every I’m sorry has truth and genuine remorse behind it.
You see, guilt is a burden a lot of people do not want to carry. Guilt is heavy. And the longer it is carried, the heavier it seems. Few people are comfortable with their conscience being clouded by wrongs they’ve committed. So when they can’t shake the guilt and they can’t find a way to unburden themselves with it, they’ll confess. They’ll apologize.
But the difference here, is that the apology was about them and not you. The apology was meant to bring them relief, not to lessen your pain.
These are the people that will wrong you time and time again. Because it was never your feelings they were trying to spare, it was their own.
And while guilt is impossible to forget while you’re suffering from it, it’s nearly impossible to remember once you’re relieved of it. Which is why these people will continue to hurt you. Because if they’ve figured out they can do wrong, apologize and not have to carry the burden of guilt, and you’ll forgive them for it, then they’ve worked out the perfect system.
They’re just like people who enter into a church promising they’ll give God something if he’d only do something for them — but once that person is healed or they get another job or their relationship is repaired, they often go back to ignoring the same God they were just crying out to.
You are worth more than hollow apologies. You’re worth more than allowing someone to treat your feelings as a bartering system. You’re worth more than the habitual pain caused by someone who is treating your soul as nothing more than a lantern of light for their warmth without giving a single thought to your wellbeing.
Once you’ve identified these people in your life, cut them out without feeling an ounce of sadness about it. Because they sure as hell aren’t feeling an ounce of sadness every time they continue to hurt you.
Remember, an I’m sorry is only worth the changed behavior that accompanies it.