The Heaviest Burden

Jessica - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love, setbacks
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The Heaviest Burden

When he first found out, I felt my stomach sink to the ground. The lump in my throat prevented me from being able to say a word. My ears heard nothing but his harsh words and my pounding heart. I had done what I always swore I would not. I was unfaithful to the man that loved me most. I wanted to apologize, but I didn’t want to admit that what I had done was wrong. I felt that if I apologized, then I would have to accept the fact that I had made a mistake. As a perfectionist, this was hard for me to accept and I didn’t want to. I had never before made a significant mistake like this, and I hated myself for messing up. My pride had truly overwhelmed my mind and blurred my thoughts.

As a result, I began having trouble sleeping at night. I would toss and turn in sleepless anxiety, and I was soon unable to concentrate on my daily activities. Thoughts of my inability to truly apologize were all my mind could focus on, and I felt like I lived in a world of pure darkness. Looking into his eyes made my heart ache when all I saw was the pain he felt. It finally sunk in, and I no longer wanted to feel the guilt. I knew what I had to do. I had to truly tell him I was sorry and accept the fact that I had made a mistake.

My heart raced and my palms were sweaty, but I knew there was no other way out of my shame. The moment I said “I’m sorry” was by no means easy, but I had no other choice. My apology led me to feel free once again, and I no longer lived in guilt. My mind could now concentrate on other things and I finally felt at peace with myself. Saying “I’m sorry” were two of the most difficult yet most rewarding words I have ever spoken. To my relief, he accepted my apology. He even helped me understand that everyone makes mistakes, but that I also have to be able to take responsibility for them. Saying “I’m sorry” was my way of taking responsibility.

Though saying “I’m sorry” seems simple, my pride can truly get in the way of my better judgment. This experience showed me how much my guilt can weigh me down if it is not whole-heartedly resolved. My guilt had pushed me down to my rock bottom. This is why I feel that guilt is the heaviest burden. Throughout this situation, my guilt did nothing but weigh me down. It was something that couldn’t be ignored or erased, yet facing that guilt was my darkest shadow until I was finally able to free myself from it. This is why I believe in the freedom of saying I’m sorry.