An apology without change is just manipulation.
For many of us, it has taken years to learn how to place healthy boundaries in our lives. Growing up, our boundaries were consistently violated; from this we learned our needs were not important, that our no’s did not mean no. We have spent the majority of our lives unheard, unseen, and believing our fundamental right to feel safe is unimportant.
Therefore boundaries, for us, become even more critical. Yet we often still struggle to stand firm in our boundaries. We will often be the ones who bend easily; who allow people closer than we feel comfortable, who shift the lines to accommodate the needs of others over our own needs, who give too many chances and accept too many apologies. We are still learning to trust the sound of our no, and the power contained within it.
But when we put a boundary in place, then allow another to cross that boundary, we dishonour ourselves. Often, we allow it out of good intention; genuine love and care of another. Regardless, we allow it because we have chosen to believe our need to feel safe is not as important as their need to be seen. To believe our needs are not valid or important. That WE are not valid and important.
We feel this dishonour in ourselves; the violation deep in our core. And often we will work hard to reaffirm the boundary, only to be disarmed with an apology. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. You’re seen and heard. I’ll respect and honour your needs. You’re safe here.
But an apology without change is just manipulation.
Honouring ourselves means honouring the boundaries we have put in place. It means standing firm in our truth, demanding respect and refusing to accept less than this. No matter how nice or caring or well-intentioned a person may be, if they consistently choose to disregard our boundaries in a way that leaves us feeling unheard, unseen, unsafe or disrespected, then the relationship is not a healthy one.
When we choose to respect and honour our needs we are no longer powerless. We send a message to the world that says, this is what I will accept, and nothing less. We choose to take back everything that has been taken from us. We choose to believe we are worthy of being heard and seen.
We choose ourselves.