How Many Times Do I Have To Say I’m Sorry?

I’d say it ten million times if it would actually change anything, but will it?  I know that actions speak louder than words, but my actions for the last couple of years have been sincere, humble and contrite.

Someone who hasn’t bothered being my friend in months (for unrelated reasons) recently sent me a few random text messages scolding me for things that I did in the past, and my initial instinct was to be pissed.  After all, people who love you shouldn’t be so judgmental without even giving you an opportunity to speak, but the truth is that I forgive myself for the stupid things I did in the past.  Forgiveness doesn’t change it or excuse it, but it does allow me to move forward.  Graces gives me the ability to do better.

I’ve made no attempt to shield the fact that I spent a long time (years) lying to myself and those around me.  I talk about it here from time to time.  I hated who I was – a girl who had given up on herself and resented herself greatly for it.

I often chose to escape my feelings of self-hatred by imagining myself as someone else, but in time, I started imagining myself as someone that I wanted to be.  I just didn’t know how to do it.  Where do you start when it feels like it’s too late?

Living behind the sham of a perfect life that I wished I could have was exhausting, and it was also incredibly lonely.  I kept everyone at a distance, and looking back I know that I lived that way because it was the only chance I had to fool everyone (even though I wasn’t actually fooling anyone.)

In my mind, appearing as someone who was happy and successful was my only hope because there was no way I could actually be happy.  Pretending that I was something other than a fat, pathetic loser felt better than being one, and though I have said it many times before, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for trying so desperately to make people think I had it together.

I’m sorry for not explaining why I didn’t do things the way that I should.

I’m sorry that I lied.

I’m sorry that I allowed myself to become addicted to food instead of facing the reasons that led me to wanting to end my life.

I’m sorry that I pretended to be brighter and more successful than I was.

I’m sorry that I didn’t explain that I changed my name (or why I did it.)

I’m sorry for the times I pretended to be someone else online in order to escape my pathetic, hate-filled relationship with myself.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t myself.

I’m sorry for all of the times that I didn’t try hard enough to tell the truth.

I’m sorry I hurt my family.

I’m sorry that I made excuses instead of trying harder to change.

I’m sorry that I wasted so many years hating myself and wishing that I could be pretty and smart and witty and all-around amazing.

I’m sorry that I blamed everyone except myself for the problems that I had created for myself.

I am sorry.

I am sorry.

I am sorry.

I am sorry.

I am sorry.

This is not the first time that I’ve acknowledged hurting people that I loved because I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) just tell the truth, and it probably won’t be the last time I talk about it because so much of my journey to get to a healthy and happy place involves letting go of all of the B.S. that brought me to that dark, unhappy, lonely existence in the first place.

I am human, and too many times I’ve been a shitty human.  I have made many mistakes, and my past is checkered with regret.  Here’s the thing though…I don’t know how to go back and erase those regrets.  It is impossible rewind and make new choices that I know I should have made at the time.  I haven’t put much effort into seeking out people that I’ve hurt because frankly, if I were them, I wouldn’t want to talk to me.

I can’t change the past, but I’m trying really damn hard to do the right things now.  Actually, I’ve been trying.  I have accepted that I can’t go back and fix everything I did wrong, or show every person I’ve ever hurt that I love them and that I’m sorry.  I know that I won’t always get a second chance, and though I wish it could be different, I realize that I’ve already been blessed with far more than I deserve.

Maybe some of you have never given up on yourself, never told a lie or hurt someone that mattered to you.  Maybe you don’t understand what it’s like to hate yourself so much that you wish you could be anyone other than yourself.  Maybe you’ve never experienced feelings of inadequacy or self-loathing and/or self-pity.  If that’s the case, that’s great!

I’ve never been perfect, and you won’t’ hear me say otherwise here or anywhere else.  I’m heavily flawed, but I’m also forgiven…at least by God and my family.  I can’t expect everyone to forgive me for the times in which I was flat wrong, but I do expect to continue growing in this honest, sometimes exciting, sometimes interesting life that I have carved out for myself over the last couple of years.

It’s not easy to look back and think about the things I regret, but it has helped shape who I am now.  I wish I had a perfect track record among my friends, family ex-boyfriends, etc., but I’m going to love myself in spite of the fact that I don’t.

I’m also going to continue striving to be a person that I’m proud of.  I’ve made some serious progress toward being honest, sincere and proud of who I am, and I don’t intend to let those things define me forever.

When I think of the people I’ve hurt, I picture some very specific faces.  I hope that someday I can seek forgiveness from them and find it, but for now, all I know to do is not make the same mistakes in the relationships I have now.  It feels good to be myself, to allow people in and to let them love me back.  It feels good to know that I have unconditional love from my family and from God.

If you’re reading this and I’ve hurt you, I’m sorry…truly.  I don’t know what else to say…….

 

 

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    sharla w.
    July 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    This is a beautiful post, Kenlie. I think you are a wonderful human being.

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  • Reply
    Marilyn
    July 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    You already said the important part. Your family and God have forgiven you. Please don’t be so hard on yourself…we all have some kind of issues to work through. My therapy is to play in the dirt in my garden. It is a fact that there is something good for you in the dirt! Get a few pots of plants to work with. It really is amazIng how it works for me.♥♫

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  • Reply
    Sophie
    July 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Pastor Rick Warren
    God prefers a humble prayer from a thief than a prideful prayer from a theologian. Luke 18:10-14

    Rick Warren posted that on FB today and I read it right before I came to your blog. You humbled yourself before God and your family and they’ve forgiven you. I know it is much harder to work on the forgiving yourself. Most of us have been there. I truly hope that ones that matter to you see your sincerity.

    And Marilyn’s right… potting plants and working with plants and flowers rejuvenate your soul. Try it! 🙂

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  • Reply
    Patricia
    July 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Forgiven. And I do not even know you. Now let it go. You have learned from your mistakes,you have asked to be forgiven, and move forward. If anyone tries to make you feel guilty then THEY are the ones with a problem.
    You are a wonderful human being. Stop being so hard on yourself and enjoy the wonderful life you have.

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    • Reply
      Emily
      July 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

      ^^^ exactly what I was going to write.

      How people choose to react (or in this case, hold on to hatred/hurt and not move on) is THEIR karma, not yours. You’ve put your best intentions and apology out there, and it’s not your job to make sure they receive and respond appropriately. Take peace in the fact that you’ve done your part. <3

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  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Athlete at Heart
    July 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Its brave to post all of that. Just remember, the people that are meant to be in your life will forgive you and stand by you. Don’t worry about anyone else. You’ve done what you can.

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  • Reply
    dad
    July 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    The measure of a persons worth and character is found in what we do after we have come to ourselves and admit our wrong. You can say you are sorry for things done in the past a million times and that won’t change the past, nor will it make those who don’t truly love you, respect you any more OR any less. Seems to me I have read the words of a great man, who, when confronted by a group of men who accused a woman of adultery, saying they caught her in the very act, responded by sayingyou who are without sin cast the first stone(the accepted punishment of that day). Those accusers walked away without casting even one stone. That great man then said to her, where are those who condemn you? Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.(By the way, I have never figured out how those judges might have been in a place where the would catch her in the VERY act.) Kenz, go and sin no more. Stop beating yourself up. The past is the past. Remember we live for the future and that we have control of. Even God won’t change the past, but He will gladly direct our tomorrows.

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  • Reply
    Tracey
    July 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Everyone had hurt someone, lied about something, made the wrong decisions.. . I have lots of regrets and remember things I said or did that were stupid/hurtful to myself or others. I would imagine most people do. It is only being human. If people want you to say “SORRY” multiple times it is time to let them go from your life. Not worth it. We are hardest on ourselves and certainly do not need others reminding us of all our faults and past mistakes. That is not healthy for anyone. And seems mean spirited to me. We are all trying to do/be the best we can, and it seems to me you are doing great…

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    • Reply
      dad
      July 19, 2013 at 12:13 am

      I agree

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  • Reply
    mary
    July 19, 2013 at 8:06 am

    oh kenlie..hugs to you
    and all who are feeling this way
    there are some people in my life that no matter how much i say i am sorry
    they will not let things go or forgive….and honestly i did nothing , they really just do not like me or want me around.
    what i have found though is this:
    it is the faults in themselves that they find the one they really want to be the closest to , to take those things out on. finding every little thing you might have said that is not true or half true or whatever (you get the picture) to bring attention to ….INSTEAD of accepting that everyone is human and makes mistakes …..they need to deal with what is going on in their lives and stop focusing in on what you have acknowledged as something you are not right with and perhaps deal with their own issues.
    xo

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  • Reply
    Connie
    July 19, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I agree with your Dad.
    That being said, this is simple. Those people that can’t get past whatever it is that you did yesterday, 2 weeks ago, 2 years ago etc… aren’t important. If they were, they would NOT still be holding on to bad feelings towards you for whatever you have done. They aren’t perfect… and that is probably the reason they are holding you so accountable for your actions in the past. It’s a lot easier to pick on someone else’s faults, than to try and fix our own. Truth is.. you can’t go back and change anything. It is an impossibility.. and you can’t concentrate on the kind of person you want to be now, and that God wants you to be now… if your constantly being bashed for what you did IN THE PAST. I would stop saying I’m sorry to them for what you did.. and start saying your sorry they can’t love you enough to forgive you.. and that you will pray for them and their obvious sin of unforgiveness. (not sure that’s a word) 🙂 because honestly, this is all on them now. How they deal with it is up to them, and NOT YOUR PROBLEM.

    I rarely post messages on here, but I have been reading your blog for several years now, and I just can’t stand to see you beat yourself up… not for another minute. Please don’t look back… bad things can happen when you do!

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    • Reply
      Natalie
      July 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Sheesh, I’m with Connie. I read your blog and rarely post, but this one motivated me to do it. I can’t imagine that there’s a soul alive who hasn’t done something to hurt or offend someone, even unknowingly, over the course of their lives. This is one where you’re just going to have to decide for yourself that you’ve moved on and you’re not going to let someone else keep making you feel bad for something you’ve apologized for repeatedly. Cut ties immediately with whomever is dredging things up from the past. That’s just a recipe for disaster for you. You’ve apologized. Everyone needs to move on. If they can’t, move on without them. You’ll be better for it.

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  • Reply
    Shelley B
    July 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

    You can’t do anything but apologize and live a better life, and you’re doing both. You can’t go back and change anything, so you’re doing all you can. If people don’t want to forgive you, that’s on them. There’s only so much in your control.

    Not knowing you personally, I don’t know exactly what happened in your past, but it sounds like you’ve really reinvented yourself. I am glad that you had the courage and the means to do that.

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  • Reply
    Laurie
    July 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Have you forgiven yourself? That’s the person who counts the most.

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  • Reply
    Dacia
    July 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    You are ‘pretty and smart and witty and all-around amazing’- you don’t need to wish to be those things. You are already that person.

    Thank you for such an honest and open post. It is never easy to speak so freely about the aspects of our lives we’d rather forget about. Regrets are tough to handle and not easily forgotten. You just have to try and look for the silver lining and know you are fabulous and have a wonderful life ahead of you.

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  • Reply
    Patricia
    July 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Pray for your “enemies” and those people who continue to try hurt you. Jesus continues to heal. You just need to ask and give HIM your hurts.

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  • Reply
    Lisa
    July 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Good! You do your thing. Don’t give them any more space in your brain or your life. You don’t have to atone, carry guilt or even respond. You’ve apologized now, forgiven yourself, moved on and if they aren’t ready to forgive you or if they want to live their lives with anger and resentment over the past, that’s their issue to work out with their own therapists (or by kicking the dog or whatever they do.) Block that spam, you don’t even need to know those messages are coming in!

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  • Reply
    Marie
    July 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    You’ve done all you HAVE to do. The rest is up to the person who won’t forgive. This is now THEIR problem.

    Stay strong!
    Marie

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  • Reply
    Heather@YSP
    July 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    We’ve all hurt

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  • Reply
    Heather@YSP
    July 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    We’ve all hurt and been hurt, but it takes incredible strength to not only admit it but apologize for it and work through it. You’ve done the work and now I think it’s time to drop the burden. Leave it behind. It’s not yours to carry anymore.

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  • Reply
    timothy
    July 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    i’m sorry some people just cant let it go, geeesh I hate how in America when we’re supposed to forgive those who apologize we take it upon ourselves to question the sincerity of the words. really? I don’t judge unconditional love is just that without condition and that’s that! LOVE YA!

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  • Reply
    Lori
    July 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Kenlie, I agree with most everything your father said. Except we do not live for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Live in the moment. Be present. Live for today. That’s all we truly have. Those that condemn you only see the negative traits they have within themselves. You may find Debbie Ford’s book enlightening, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” You need to stop beating yourself up. Accept your dark side as well as your light side. Don’t push it away, the only way to be whole is to accept all of you.

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  • Reply
    Scott
    July 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Just wanted to say that I think you’re fantastic. 🙂 We have no control over our pasts, we can only do our best to make amends, and it’s very, very evident that you’ve done your best to do so. That said, even though our pasts may have truly dark elements, we often find that they lead us to places we’d have otherwise never discovered. That is not to say that we shouldn’t regret harm we’ve caused others, or apologize for that harm, but it is at least as important, if not more, what we do with the knowledge of that harm.

    From where I stand, you’ve found a new direction and have taken the initiative to pursue it. Your physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual lives are far different from what they have been in the past despite the fact that you have a sense of continuity with regard to your identity. I’ve seen many people transcend their dark pasts and move on, but it’s a very rare thing to find someone who both transcends and includes, and in doing so becomes a truly more enlightened entity as a result. You are most certainly one of those few.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I’ve read this and am, if anything, even more impressed with you for writing it. You are a truly wonderful soul, Kenlie, and I consider it a true joy and privilege to know you! 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Scott

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  • Reply
    LotusMama
    July 20, 2013 at 1:32 am

    While reading your post, the lyrics to one of my current favorite songs, Carry On, came into my head:

    “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.”

    Simple words, but powerful.

    Carry on, Kenlie!

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  • Reply
    Saundra M
    July 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Once you say I’m sorry and they forgive you, that should be the end of it. If not, then it the other person with the problem. I know, I went through a somewhat similar situation and I still wonder sometimes how many sorry’s it will take. But you have to move on, and pray that the individuals will also.

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  • Reply
    Cynthia
    July 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Your apologies have been said and heard by those who need them. I know how painful it is to have others regularly bring it up. But the sincerity of the apology is all that is needed. No need to regularly convince those whom it doesn’t involve.

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  • Reply
    Paulamp
    July 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I have been reading your blog for a long time but have never commented before. My two cents: you only have to say I’m sorry once, after that it’s on the other person . Never beg for someone to be your friend, to like you, to love you. Act right every day and live your life. That’s all any of us can do.

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  • Reply
    Peggy
    July 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Philippians 3:13-14
    King James Version (KJV)
    Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
     I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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    • Reply
      dad
      July 21, 2013 at 1:23 am

      amen!

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  • Reply
    Sarah S
    July 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Such a powerful post.
    Im sorry I didnt have you in my life sooner. You are awesome 🙂

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  • Reply
    Tracy
    July 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Kenlie,

    I agree with many of the other people here – you’ve said your piece, now let it go. If it’s still not good enough for some people, that’s THIER problem, not yours!

    You ARE smart and pretty!!! I’m very glad to have met you last month!
    Hugs!!

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  • Reply
    Cheryl
    July 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    The people who truly love and appreciate you forgave you long ago, before the first sorry was released from your lips. That’s how these things work. The people who feel the need to continue to make you prostrate yourself before them are doing it for one of two reasons: (1) they enjoy causing you pain or (2) they are trying to make themselves feel better. I would imagine most of the ones who are doing this are doing it for the second reason. It’s a lot easier to go pick on someone else than it is to face yourself in the mirror when things aren’t going so great in your own life.

    If you’re truly sorry and you’ve changed your ways, that’s all that is required of you. Forgive yourself and move on with your life.

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  • Reply
    Cathy
    July 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Lots of wise folks read your blog, my friend. Time to move on…the past is over. Love you!

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  • Reply
    Sarah
    July 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I’m just seeing this. <3

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  • Reply
    Alison Griffiths
    August 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Kenlie, I only came across your blog twenty minutes ago but I already know you have the soul of a good person who despair took along a difficult path for a time. But now the journey is yours. The person who text you clearly has unresolved issues with the past, I have felt like doing this to those who have hurt me in the past. But I’ve always resisted, mainly because I know it wouldn’t help me at all, and definitely because I don’t believe in revenge or retribution. Sadly this person cannot let go, you have apologised and that is all you can do, apart from learn, which you so obviously have.

    I don’t know you, I’m a 45 year old woman from England with a huge weight problem, I am about to resort to surgery and I’m googling weight loss etc, that’s how I found you. In the few minutes I read your words and saw that beautiful smile, (no bad person could smile that way!) already you’ve helped me.

    Isn’t that a bit of payback for something you did when you didn’t know any better? Something caused by despair?

    And I know I’m not the only one. Good luck Kenlie.

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