Last week I sent an apology note to a small group of people with whom I had let the ball drop.
I had been meaning to write them [do I dare tell you the truth about how long?] for three months. Yes. If I count back, yes, it’s been that long.
What held me up?
Wanting to be careful. Trying to not make any mistakes. Trying to not hurt anyone. Or maybe, as I write this I realize it might also have been not wanting anyone to get mad at me for… yes, for not doing “it” right.
I see this pattern run my life at times.
I’ll be in a rush and a client will contact me, or a friend, or for that matter, anyone who matters. I’ll feel the impulse to reply but stop myself.
The above pattern kicks in. I want the reply to be “right.”
Then what happens, like with this note that I needed to send for over three months, I put aside my reply to re-send after I have a chance to re-read it and make sure it’s crystal clear and without any possible problems.
Then, somehow, the note never gets sent. Or maybe it gets sent after a lot of agonizing.
Such was the case with this note. I finally wrote it a month ago. Set it aside. Well, you know what happened.
It must have been two or three weeks ago when I realized I still hadn’t sent out the note. AAAGUUUGH.
Worrying about being careful and doing it right meant I was not attending to those on the other side who might have thought they were doing something wrong, or wondered where I had gone.
With that I decided to re-read the note once — and send it out.
When I try so hard to be careful to not have anyone feel excluded, wronged, hurt, rejected, shamed can make it hard to just be in the relationship.
I realized that when I’m so worried I’m keeping the brakes on and not trusting that the relationship is strong enough. There’s also an assumption that the other is somehow to fragile to be able to tolerate my messes, my mistakes, my “not doing it right.”
I realize how vulnerable it is to repair relationships, to authentically let the other person know they matter to me while at the same time honoring what is right, true, and good for me.
With this dawning comprehension I sat with how careful I am everywhere, with everyone. I sat with how that keeps me – and the other(s) – from being authentic.
I’m in the middle of this as I write an ezine to send out on shame. Whenever I take a bit of a risk, maybe exposing what feels “more than I should” I go into this withdrawal (or is it avoidance?) of what has to get done.