Have Yourself a Secular Yom Kippur

And You Can Always Do This After Today

According to tradition, it is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person’s fate, so Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year.

You don’t have to be Jewish to experience the relationship changing and personally transformative power of reaching out to people and giving them an unsolicited heartfelt apology.

You can come up with one of your own, or you could do the following:

  1. Select people in your life that you would either like to repair a relationship with or just make the relationship you have much closer and deeper.
  2. Text them the following message: “I’d like your help with something. I took a moment to put myself in your shoes with regard to our relationship and realized that I owe you an apology and if you’re willing, I’d like to grab a ten minute, telephone call with you to give it. BTW don’t get scared, it’s not about something illegal, financial or something else that will freak you out, I just wanted to clear the air about something I did by you that was wrong.”
  3. Hopefully they will be intrigued – because very few people receive unsolicited apologies from anyone, and if so, will agree to scheduling a ten minute call with you.
  4. When you then have the call say the following to them: “Thank you for agreeing to this. As I said in my text message, I put myself in your shoes regarding me and realized that there have been some things I did or failed to do that I believe frustrated, upset and disappointed you with me. I will tell you what I thought those might have been, but I want to also take this opportunity for you to tell me in no uncertain terms what I did or failed to do when I was at my worst that frustrated, upset and disappointed you. And when you do, I will just listen.”
  5. After you tell them what you thought those might have been and have them weigh in on what really frustrated, upset and disappointed them, pause for a few seconds to indicate that you have fully listened to and heard them, don’t become defensive or make any excuses. Instead, say to them, “I did (or failed to do) those things and I was wrong and I am sorry. I’m hoping you’ll accept my apology, and you don’t have to, but whether you do or don’t, going forward I promise to never do those again and if I do, I want you to bring it to my attention and I will do my best to not become defensive, throw it back at you or make excuses.”

Sound difficult? Absolutely.

Sound possibly game changing? There’s a very good chance.

Will it help get a monkey off your back? Most definitely.

And BTW forget about counting on the other person to behave in a particular way. Let then react anyway they need to, even to jump down your throat.

No matter, because if you stay true to it, you’ll walk away thinking to yourself, “I can’t be more gracious, humble and classy than that.”

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