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.