Based on the title of this post, you're probably thinking the three most important words are, "I love you." Maybe. But, to me, there are three different words that are much more important and, sometimes, much harder to say. "I am sorry."
I write and speak so often about forgiveness -- how important it is to forgive others, to extend a generous heart, to be open to releasing past pains. But it is even more important to be willing to ask for forgiveness.
I'm lucky to meet some amazing people through my work. One of my clients is a lovely and beautiful woman who is 91 years young. Married to a successful and wealthy man, she's lived an exciting life. Yet now that he's gone, she comes to see me every six months with the same question, "When am I going to die?" She misses her husband, she's led a great life, she's ready to go. I always try to tell her two things: 1) that's not for any intuitive reader to tell you, and if one does, she's lying. Only God knows that. We're not meant to know that information. 2) I always see her happily celebrating this Christmas season. She leaves disappointed every time saying, "I thought last Christmas would be my LAST Christmas."
This last time that she came to see me, I really bugged my guides and her guides until I got an answer. "Why, please tell me why she is here when she's so ready to go home?" The answer I received came through very clearly. "She has unfinished business with her son. She needs to ask for his forgiveness."
Oh dear. This is when my job gets tricky. When I relayed the message, she was confused. "But I gave him everything. He had the best clothes, the best education, the best vacations, everything. I gave him everything."
I told her that he's felt it very difficult all these years to fulfill the expectations of his family, that he felt as though he could never fill his father's mighty shoes, that he was never good enough for her or his father.
"Well, that's ridiculous," she said crossing her arms.
"I'm supposed to ask you about 37. What happened to him when he was 37?"
She looked away for a moment.
"What happened when he was 37 is connected to what we're talking about now. Do you remember anything about that time in his life?"
She turned back to me and said quickly, "That's when he attempted suicide, but I don't see what that has to do with me."
I just stared back at her. I didn't know what else to say.
"Well, if it will help me move on out of here, I guess I'll give it a try."
I haven't hear from her, so I'm not sure if she gave it a try or if she's enjoying this Christmas season. But I know those were difficult messages for her to hear. As a mom, I know how hard parents try to give their children every opportunity. We're never going to get it right. I always joke that you should start two savings accounts for your kids -- a college one and a therapy one -- because you will make mistakes. And most of them will be completely unintentional. But those three words magically make all those mistakes somehow a little bit okay. "I am sorry."
Another woman came to see me recently. She wanted to know why her granddaughter was so mean to her. When I asked her guides for the answer, I hesitated. "I'm hearing that it's because of your daughter. She hasn't spoken negatively about you to her daughter, but your granddaughter senses the distance anyway and acts accordingly. What happened in your daughter's life when she was 12?"
The woman sighed. "That's when I left her father. I don't think she's ever forgiven me for that."
I sensed that this client needed to leave this man, but her daughter, at the age of 12, probably didn't understand all of that then and still held residual resentment all these years later. "Maybe you could write your daughter a card and tell her that you're sorry for all that happened then, that you love her and you're proud of her."
She shook her head. "I couldn't do that."
"Please understand, I'm not saying that you should apologize for leaving your husband. I feel that is was imperative that you did what you did, but your daughter may not have seen it that way."
"Well, a lot was placed upon her then. I relied on her to take over a lot of responsibilities."
"Maybe you could just apologize for that?"
"No, definitely not."
I don't know why forgiveness -- either offering it or receiving it -- is so hard for most people. But I do know that it's one of the most important acts we can do for our soul growth. When we block forgiveness, we block growth. We say no to joy, release, and peace. And we say yes to coming back to this Earth again and again to deal with these same people and these same issues until we can face the issue of forgiveness.
This holiday season, if there's someone you think is angry with you, offer the best gift of all -- an apology. You'll feel lighter, stronger and more peaceful.