Apologies and Forgiveness
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
First of all, let’s make this very clear: it’s never too late to apologize. Just know that SINCERE apologies are not meant to be self-serving. Sincere apologies are meant to let the other person know that you acknowledge that you hurt them and that you are truly sorry for doing so. If you are a human being reading this, I’ll have you know that you’ll owe people apologies for the rest of your life. Yes, for the rest of your life. Part of being human beings is that we mess up every single day. Sometimes in our mess ups, whether conscious or unconscious, done out of malice or done in ignorance, we end up hurting other people. Sometimes we hurt them really really bad. The hope is that as we go through this thing we call life, we’ll learn from those mistakes and we will be increasingly aware of others so that we hurt them less and love them more.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: If you’re only apologizing so that you may get something in return, that is not a sincere apology and the chances that you’ll do it again are GREAT because you haven’t reached the core of the apology: recognizing that you hurt someone else and that you are sorry for it. In other words, it has to be more than "feeling sorry" now that you're paying consequences or that "you got caught".
So, if you arrive at a point where you recognize “damn, I can see how I really messed up and hurt someone else” – please do make an effort to apologize. Just know…and this is the hard part about apologies: people do NOT have to accept your apology, nor believe you, nor forget about what you did. While this may be a difficult concept to grasp, keep in mind that apologies are not meant to be self-serving - it’s just the RIGHT THING TO DO. Now, if that other person chooses to NOT accept your apology, that’s on THEM. Walk away with a clear conscious knowing you’ve done the right thing (although it may hurt, like a lot!!!). Again, it’s these life lessons, and life consequences, that teach us to not repeat our mistakes. Consequences are good, they make us better people if we allow them.
Lastly, on the other side of that coin, if you’re looking to feel better, the answer is to forgive. If you feel ABSOLUTELY broken, or ashamed, or guilty for the things you’ve done: please forgive yourself. Remind yourself that you are a human being and therefore FULLY flawed. Remind yourself that you are one of the 7 billion people on the planet that have made mistakes and give yourself the greatest gift of all: forgiveness. Forgive yourself for the things you’ve done or haven’t done, and forgive others for the things they’ve done to you or haven’t done. Forgiveness is self-serving and is the greatest peace of mind. And peace of mind, as I’m sure you’ve already learned…cannot be bought at WalMart. It comes from within.
I’ll end this blog with one of my favorite Twain quotes: ‘Forgiveness is the fragrance that theviolet sheds on the heel that has crushed it’.
Think about it ;)
PS: in very specific situations, apologizing could potentially end up doing more harm than good, so do take that into consideration before apologizing. In these rare circumstances, the right thing to do is to recognize your mistakes, learn from them and forgive yourself....