“Je regrette,” “je suis désolé”, “My dearest regrets”, “I’m so sorry to hear that…” and “Unfortunately”. You may wonder what is with all the regret and being sorry; and why I have it expressed in French. In answer to the first, the word sorry can sometimes be over-used. And for the second, why I expressed it in French was that I wanted to add some colour and drama to the opening. This is not to necessarily imply that I find the French language dramatic. I actually love the language and would like to revisit it one day and become fluent.
Now back to “I’m sorry”. I recently reprimanded a friend on how she liked to sometimes over use the following expression, “I am so sorry to hear that”. I think when hearing how something may not have gone well, there must have been a button in her brain which automatically replays that sentence, which is full of sorrow or regret. Why did I pull her up on this? It was because I felt that it was not useful to both her, and to the receiver. I am not trying to convey here, that it is bad to express condolences or disappoint. But how we can sometimes automate a response without really thinking why we are expressing it due to conditioning. Conditions or rules do not always need to be followed. It is like what Oprah Winfrey said once when she was talking about the law of attraction, how it was one way. To clarify here, she was saying that there are many practices that can be applied. By using one practice, it did not necessarily mean that it was always the one that needed to be applied.
Is it sorrow?
When faced with an experience, which is somewhat emotional, it may be difficult to accept or understand why it is occurring. But there is always something to be gained. I talked about this in the present. I believe that we should be careful where we focus our energy. As where your attention goes, the energy will flow. Back in 2009, my house burnt down and my car was written off within a short space of time. I was fine and survived both of these events. At the time one person made the comment: “I’m so sorry to hear about your flow of bad luck”. I remember thinking I was not looking for sorrow. I did not feel sorry for myself. I felt that I had a lot to look forward too. I had a good contract job, and I was studying for a teaching qualification. Maybe with these elements going on in my life, I believed that life was good and abundant. By this person implying that I was unlucky, I could not connect with it.
Allowing the flow
You may question here, what about the instances were you cannot see the positives? This is a good question; and follows on from the previous section on how we focus. We live in a society where if we are experiencing pain, the preferred method is to mask it up. Take the painkiller. The painkiller may numb the toothache; but the tooth will still be infected. If we take the antibiotics or wait for our immune system to kick in then the body will repair and restore itself. This process reminds me of ‘allowing the flow’.
Going back to when you are experiencing a situation that may feel painful, how do you respond? Do you try to numb it and pretend that it is not there? Or do you box up, whatever emotions that are there and leave it parked up – ready to burst out expectantly one day? If answer to one of the following scenarios was yes, was it because you did not want to feel sorry for yourself. Was it that you were programmed to feel that you were not ‘allowed’ to focus on what appeared to be bad, but instead be instantly happy? This is one of my concerns about expressing ‘sorrow’, as from one angle it is saying: “I’m sorry for hearing that you are going through the flow of the experience”. And is it not natural – a flow, the menstrual flow for instance? Did that last part of the previous illustration make you uncomfortable? Maybe this is a good thing as it took you out of a comfort zone, and made you focus on what is. This same principle can be applied to life situations were you are not feeling too good. You may have heard the expression:
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger”
Going back to that year where my house burnt down, and next my car was written off in an accident, I did not feel sorry. I pushed forward and not only passed my teaching qualifications, but got top marks.
So next time when you feel that you are not being a dealt a good set of cards, question: Are you going to focus on sorry?