Lately it seems that you cannot watch the news or a late night comedian without seeing highlights from a Presidential debate, turn on the TV without finding an awards show, listen to the radio without hearing Adele saying, "Hello from the other side" or Justin Bieber asking,
"Is it too late now to say sorry?"
Since I find myself answering Justin's question out loud in my car, I figured I would address it in a newsletter.
Apologies, the need to make amends, or any unfinished interactions or relationships are all forms of incompletions. If you are trying to live a life where every choice matters, then, incompletions are all the inactions and choices that you didn't make matter or have avoided. The problem is, your inactions can have just as much of an impact on your life as your actions. And in terms of incompletions...they are bloodsuckers! Whether you're consciously aware of them or not, incomplete items remain with you. They occupy space in your psyche because they want and need some resolution. Even if they fade into the background of your busy days, something or someone will remind you of them and then they spring back into your awareness bringing along feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, resentment, or blame. Why else do you think both Adele and the Biebs would be singing about them and both songs would have been the "number one" song on the charts for so many weeks? Because on some level everyone relates to them and can picture that person they need and want to have closure with, even if it is just... "to say I'm sorry now" or "to tell you I'm sorry, for everything that I've done."
As Debbie Ford writes in The Best Year of Your Life, "Closure is the doorway from the past to the future. To bring closure to our past, we must be complete with every incident, project, or person with whom we've been involved. We cannot create a new, extraordinary life on top of a past that is riddled with incomplete projects, failed relationships, broken agreements and unresolved issues."
The bottom line is that carrying around the guilt and shame of not saying, "I am sorry," making amends, bringing closure to unresolved issues, and making peace with our past, like all incompletions, are huge energy drains. They rob you of your power, creativity and ability to manifest your desires. They also make you feel bad about yourself -- and like all integrity issues, they make you feel guilty, shameful and undeserving of having all that you want in your life.
In order to restore your integrity, you need to be willing to acknowledge and resolve your incompletions. In order to set yourself free from the guilt you may be carrying around about your unfinished relationships, you must acknowledge the ones that feel incomplete, figure out what you need to do to clean it up and bring closure, and find forgiveness for yourself and others for past disappointments. Without forgiveness - whether it is giving or receiving, you continue to be imprisoned by your past.
So in answer to your question, Justin,
"NO! It is not or never will it be too late to say sorry."
As you say good-bye to the guilt, grief, resentments, and disappointments that consciously or unconsciously shape your thoughts, shut you down, and diminish your self-worth, you open up to the gifts of the past, the miracles in the present, and the possibilities of the future.
Transformational Action Steps
1. Identify the people in your life you need to make amends with.
2. Calculate the number of days, weeks, months, or years you have been carrying around negative feelings due to not making amends.
3. Identify the costs of not bringing closure to those relationships.
4. Identify action steps or create a plan that will support you in bringing closure to each of these relationships.