Part of being responsible as a woman is holding yourself accountable. This can be a task for many of us especially if we do not realize that we have wronged others. With dignity, we as women must learn to say “I’m sorry.” This is something I am learning and accepting.
As the oldest granddaughter in my family, I had an impact on my cousins in more ways than I realized. They looked to me for guidance, they looked to me for advice, and they watched me closely. I was a true instrument in their eyes of life! I was the first of the grandchildren that went to College and obtained a 4 year degree. They were watching. I was the first to get married and buy a home; they were watching. While things were happening in my life were so trivial and happenstance; I was a role model and a confidant without even knowing. And I hurt them without even knowing.
About two years ago I noticed a pull or a sense of knowing that there had become a rejection in my family amongst myself and my cousins. They seemed to be uneasy with me and I started seeing less and less of them. For awhile I I thought that there was an issue down to age. You see I am the oldest of the young ladies in my extended family. I am older 7 years younger than my youngest Auntie; my mother had me at a young age and I lived at home with her siblings for many years of my life; therefore, I became more like a little sister to them. This in itself has been a blessing and a curse so to speak. Let me share with you both sides:
- I fondly remember specific events, people, and places that my younger cousins did not
- I have personal experiences that I could share with my younger cousins
- I was the median between the cousins in KY and those that lived out of state
- I set the foreground for my other cousins: They watched what I did and set goals and standards for themselves as young ladies.
- I was too close to my Aunts & Uncles; my level of confidentiality was not there. It was a tendency for me to share information with my mother that my younger cousins had shared with me. At times, this information was misinterpreted.
- My cousins feel that I am the “favorite” and am treated differently by my Aunts & Uncles. This has led to a division among us.
- They do not trust me or respect me as they once did.
Because of my wrongs the young ladies that once looked up to me are not close with me anymore. They do not feel like they can talk to me and confide in me. I wronged them and I am accepting that accountabiity. I was devastated to learn that they were so hurt that they actually developed a groupme chat that did not include me. But, at the same time I could not blame them. If I could do it all over again, I would take all of their situations with candor and hold them precious and gentle to me. It is OK to admit when you are wrong; this is what I am learning. At age 42, I have been wrong. I have misused their trust, I have lost their confidence, and I have disappointed them.
It was important to me to write about this because during this pandemic I have realized the importance of family. I feel like I took that asset as an advantage. My tongue overrode my logic; it was not for me to present them in a light to my family that makes them look bad or hinders their reputation.
I had to face up to the fact that I HURT them. It is OK to say “I”m sorry” but what happens next? “I’m sorry” is such a blanket statement. For me, this has been a rough road of internally looking at myself and facing things that have occurred in my life that have led me here. I have had to do much reflection, much accepting, and thorough spiritual healing. From molestation to physical and verbal abuse starting out as early as age 9, I have had to face the reasons that have put me in this predicament. Saying “I’m sorry” could never be enough. The question is, ” How do I take responsibility, heal myself, and make things right?”
At this point, I am working on me along with working to rebuild my relationships with my younger cousins. This involves them knowing how proud I am of them. They are accomplished businesswomen, mothers, degree holders, entrepreneurs etc. Their accolades override anything negative that I may have overshadowed to the family. I am very proud of them all.
Also, I have taken a step back from the group chats, cousin trips etc. I do not want to make them feel uncomfortable around me as they already have been. I want them to continue to enjoy life and all that life offers them; I express my love and gratitude via texts, phone calls and social media. This is also a time for me to continue counseling and healing for myself.
It is my responsibility to make this up to them….it is my responsibility to show that I am sorry for hurting them…..it is my responsibility to make myself a better ME for them……it is my responsibility to accept how they feel about me.
I’m sorry is just a statement…..accepting responsibility is the biggest step you can take.