How Do I Ask for Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a complex and challenging process with many wonderful rewards and opportunities for growth. In today’s blog, we will be breaking down the forgiveness process into simpler, more concrete steps, with the goal of increasing your understanding and ability to forgive yourself and others more readily and easily.

Acceptance and self-awareness. The first part of the forgiveness process is being aware of when you need to ask for forgiveness and accepting that you have done and/or said something to hurt another person. When you understand the impact your actions and/or words had on the other person, you can take responsibility for what you have done and take the steps necessary to work toward repairing the relationship.

Apologize & ask for forgiveness. After you are aware of when you need to ask for forgiveness and are ready to take responsibility for your actions, the next step is to apologize to the person you hurt. Before you apologize, it is a good idea to reflect and think about what you want to say. If you are having a hard time thinking of how to express what you want to communicate, it might be helpful to write down your apology beforehand. When you apologize, it is important to be honest, sincere, and empathetic. Be sure to clearly express what you are sorry for, take responsibility for your actions, don’t make excuses, and communicate that you understand and are remorseful for the harm your actions have caused. Another important part of apologizing is to express sincere intentions to do your best to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Once you have apologized, ask for forgiveness.

Don’t get defensive. After you apologize and ask for forgiveness, let them respond to you without getting defensive. They may need to express the impact your actions had on them. If this is the case, give them the space to do so, but know that, if they begin to attack you, you have the right to ask them to stop and walk away.

Be willing to give them time and space. After you apologize to someone, they made not be ready to forgive you right away. They may need time and space to process their feelings before they are ready to move forward.

Show your commitment to rebuilding the relationship. After you apologize and ask for forgiveness, be proactive about avoiding the same mistakes you made before. Show that you can be trusted through your actions, but remember that you don’t deserve to have your past mistakes held over you.

Why Forgive?

Forgiveness is a key component in building healthy, fulfilling, and lasting relationships of all kinds. No one is perfect, and we will all make mistakes in our relationships and hurt the people we love. However, through forgiveness, we can pave the way to increased vulnerability and intimacy, look for the positive parts of one another, let go of resentment, and look toward the future.

Not only does forgiveness have many relationship benefits, but it can also help us feel more satisfied with who we are and how we show up in the world. By working toward forgiveness, we can deepen the compassion and understanding in our relationships. Seeking forgiveness when we have hurt someone we care about can help us become more empathetic and attuned with the way in which our actions affect others. Similarly, when we work towards forgiving someone who hurt us, we can challenge ourselves to maintain an attitude of openness, while striving to let go of past feelings of resentment and anger. This can help us be more aware of how we interact with the people in our lives, build a foundation for strongher, healthier relationships, and lead us to live more intentionally and compassionately.

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is complex and growth-fostering. At times, it can be a challenging process, yet it is also extremely freeing and leads to more satisfying and joyful relationships. Though forgiveness is unique to each person and their experiences, there are also many overarching themes and general components that can be applied more universally, which we will be covering in today’s blog.

We know that forgiveness is important and can help us lead better, more fulfilling lives, but what exactly is it? Forgiveness is a willingness to let go of resentment and move to a place of openness and understanding. It is the ability to accept the past for what it was and stay in the present moment instead of responding to or interacting with someone through a lens of past anger or frustration. Most importantly, forgiveness happens internally. Forgiveness happens when we acknowledge that our pain is significant, we have been impacted and/or changed by what happened, and we are willing to move past the pain and suffering we have experienced. When we no longer allow our pain and/or feelings of anger and resentment to consume us, we can experience healing, peace, and freedom.

Now that we have a better understanding of what forgiveness is, it’s also important to talk about what it isn’t. Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened or going back to the way things were before we were hurt. It is not denying our pain or excusing someone’s behaviors/actions. Forgiveness allows us to move forward and can potentially repair relationships; however, it does not require that we reconcile with those who hurt us or re-enter into harmful or toxic relationships.

We hope you have a better understanding of what forgiveness is after reading this, and we encourage you to stay tuned for more helpful information about why forgiveness is important in healthy relationships, how to ask for forgiveness, and how to navigate situations where it is hard to forgive.

5/14/19: Moving Forward: My Path Toward a Brighter Future (HRI Lived Experiences Professional Training)

This event is free, but there is a $20 fee to receive a certificate for 2.0 NBCC-approved contact hours:



Forgiveness is an important part of developing and maintaining healthy relationships. It is rooted in growth, change, acceptance, and understanding, and it challenges us to work towards more positive communication and conflict resolution. When we consistently practice forgiveness in our relationships, we gain the capacity to hold more compassion, kindness, and patience for those we care about. Though forgiveness is necessary for building happy, healthy, and safe relationships, it isn’t always easy to forgive. In fact, sometimes, forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to do, especially when it comes to learning how to forgive ourselves.

Stay tuned throughout the next week as we discuss forgiveness more in depth and provide some helpful tips to help you make forgiveness a more integral part of your relationships!

Letting Boys Cry: Tips for Parents

Collaboratively written by Taylor Gabbey, Adrienne Loffredo, Liz Mechan, and Macy Nesom

As a society, we are creating a cycle of suppression of emotions in boys. This, in turn, affects their relationships with significant others and their own children, creating cycle after cycle of severe mental health issues. Where do we start? We start with our own children. Validating emotions goes a long way. Below we have included a wonderful image from the Gottman Institute of things to stay instead of, “Stop crying”.

Kids feel the same emotions whether they are boys or girls. The difference is, how we as parents and society expect them to talk about and show their emotions or feelings.

We can normalize feeling talk. For example, instead of just asking, “How was your day?”, maybe also ask, “How are you feeling today?”. This allows room for children to name their emotions and work through them in a healthy way.

Here are some tips for parents of boys to keep in mind:

  • Sensitivity indicates a high EQ (Emotional Intelligence).
  • Boys and girls both experience sadness and hurt.
  • Boys need help processing emotions – talking about how they feel – just like many girls do.
  • Crying is a natural, physical response to sadness.
  • Emotional suppression is linked to higher suicide rates beginning as early as age 16.

Knowing these facts, here are some things to try:

  • Talk to your son(s) about their feelings.
  • Read books about emotions and help boys learn to name their feelings.
  • Be ready to listen when your son wants to talk about how he feels.
  • Try to limit advice-giving.
  • Develop regular family rituals that involve talking about feelings, such at dinner time or bedtime. When asking how someone’s day was, include questions about how they felt throughout the day.

Need some easy-to-read resources?


The Ugly Truth Behind “Real Men Don’t Cry”

Collaboratively written by Taylor Gabbey, Adrienne Loffredo, Liz Mechan, and Macy Nesom

Emotional suppression is linked to higher suicide rates beginning as early as age 16.

Boys who learn to suppress their emotions can become stoic men. Research has found that male stoicism (or closedness to feelings) can be linked to relational problems. This trait of stoicism correlates to lower psychological wellbeing. Even worse, stoicism affects a person’s attitude towards seeking mental health care. This essentially means that a child with suppressed emotions of sadness is much more likely to have psychological issues in adulthood (such as depression) and will have a harder time asking for help because they perceive asking for help as a negative, and potentially more feminine quality.

“Problems we think of as typically male (e.g. difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior, rage) may be attempts to escape depression. Unfortunately, their attempts to escape this pain may hurt the people they love the most, and they often pass their conditions on to their children. “

– Erford & Hays, 2018

Join us for our next post in our “Let Boys Cry” series where we discuss healthy ways for parents to support their crying sons.