We have all felt remorse, at one time or another, and wished so much we could take back either an action
towards another, or perhaps something we impulsively did, without thinking it through.
How do we deal with remorse?  When feeling remorse or contrition, when do we begin to mend or repair an act we feel calls for serious “damage control”?

Remorse is a horrible feeling, and when you feel it, remorse is very uncomfortable for us.  I know with myself, I tend to obsess over the situation, and want to fix it as soon as possible.  When is it necessary to “fix” or take back, as best your able, what you’ve said or done, when every situation is unique?  Before rushing off to fix things with someone,  because you are feeling awful about what you’ve done or said, you may be wise to give the individual some space.

When writing these wisdom words, I always pull out my old Merriam-Webster dictionary, and take the time to “look up” the meaning of the wisdom word I am writing about:  Webster’s meaning for remorse:  “regret for ones sins or acts that wrong another”,  Distress arising from a sense of guilt.”  This is what I am referring to, with rushing off, or taking immediate action, on your terms, rather that yours, because of the awful feeling you have inside.

Remorse with myself, causes a great sense of discomfort.  I can’t sop thinking about mending fences with this individual because I caused them, most likely, pain, or hurt their feelings.   Unfortunately, words or actions we are feeling remorseful over, are something that can never be taken back.

When you know you need to mend the situation.

The first thing to remember is this is not about you and what you want.  This is now about what is best for them.  If necessary, give them a few days of space before talking to them about it, and deal with the discomfort inside.  This allows them to think about what has happened as well as you, and the best way to handle the situation.   Remember, they are most likely angry or hurt over your remark or behavior,  and they may need time to cool off.

Second, after thinking about the best way to handle your feelings of remorse and what caused them, call and ask permission for their time.  In other words, ” do you have a few minutes to talk?”.  Then, depending on how serious the deed you feel remorse about is, the conversation starts off giving them the full control.  This is more important than you think.  You violated them in some way, and making amends needs to be directed on their terms not yours.

Communicate with “I” messages.  “You” messages, tend to lead to sentences asking them to take some kind of small accountability for the deed you did, and this, again is about them.  Starting your sentences with I, allows you to take full responsibility for your behavior.

Third?  Properly, apologize for your behavior or words!  Many people, begin making “excuses” for their behavior, and this does not give credence nor take accountability.  Your apology, most importantly, must be from the heart, and sincere.  Again?  “I” messages are key to the best possible outcome with them, and make them feel better, with your honesty and accountability.  We can’t take back words, but we can “use wisdom words” in our conversation.  Respect and empathize with their feelings.  They may need time and space.

Accept, respect and empathize with their feelings.  Eventually, they most likely will come around.

The best relationships in life are the hardest, worked for, and good communication is such a wonderful attribute to any relationship.  The best relationships, suffer the hardest knocks, at times, and we are all human.  Remember that if this remorse is directed at yourself, for something you said or did.

More about remorse when this is a violation, compromising yourself, and you truly regret what you did.

Please remember, we are all human and will make mistakes in life.  The very fact that your feeling “remorse” to begin with, is a blessing, not a curse!  Feeling remorse, means you care, not only for others, but for yourself, and remorse can be the gateway, to huge changes you make in your future, so you don’t have to feel remorse, and that horrible feeling of guilt and discomfort that comes along with it.

True Sociopaths, violent or non violent, don’t feel remorse.  Their brains are actually wired differently then ours.

Also, some people continue to make the same mistake over and over again, so the initial feeling of remorse, wasn’t acted on, and the gateway to take action for change, is eventually closed, because they become numb, after repeating the same mistakes or actions over and over again.

Remorse can be the greatest most wonderful feeling we can have, IF eventually, that remorse is the cause of a change in your actions, or behavior or more importantly,  your life!   Thank God for it.  Remorse, means you still care, and are a loving, compassionate human being capable of growth and change!…SL

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