Please forgive me.
I forgive you.
I love you.
In his book, “The Four Things That Matter Most” hospice specialist Dr. Ira Byock writes that these are the words that dying people long to hear and say to those they love.
We might be able to say them to a dying person we love. But, as Dr. Byock says, they can also change our relationships with the living.
But sometimes they’re very hard to say. Why? Because we may appear weak or even vulnerable.
My dad found it hard to say, “I love you.” I think for him it didn’t feel “manly.” But in his 90’s he wrote in his journal, “I sure do love Carolyn and Jerry.” Then he handed it to us to read!
Vulnerability can be tough. Do we feel we’re putting ourselves in a “one down” or “one up” relationship? For instance, a parent may have trouble apologizing to a child. Or a boss to an employee. Will admitting we were wrong diminish us in the other’s eyes?
Will we lose face?
Are we afraid to be hurt or rejected if we reveal our feelings?
What if I apologize and the other person refuses to forgive me?
What if I express love and the other person remains silent?
What if I thank someone and he says, “It’s about time!”
What if I tell someone I forgive them and they say, “I didn’t do anything wrong. You’re too sensitive.”
(Note: It’s a wonderful idea to forgive, but not so good to say so unless/until the other person expresses a need to be forgiven!)
I invite readers to say which of these is easy and which is hard for you. And why. For myself, just for today I’m going to try to speak a little more courageously with my nearest and dearest!