You have probably suffered trying to forgive someone before, perhaps that person was unapologetic or if they tried to apologize they didn’t do it well. Theirs was a half-hearted apology that left you angrier than before it was offered. Or perhaps you sensed that they just said sorry to get you to keep quiet but they didn’t mean it at all. If you know how this feels then you have a major reason to seek forgiveness when you have wronged your loved one. The comprehension of how difficult the process of laying down negative feelings against you if left all up to them must make you want to meet them halfway and make it easier for them.
The untrained human being is selfish, he wants sincere or repeated apologies when wronged but is too proud to offer the same when the tables turn. For that reason, you cannot leave the issue of forgiveness to chance because then you are likely to act in a self-centered manner. Consciously you have to decide to go against the natural default which is ‘ignore the issue and hope it goes away on its own’ and instead address whatever problem there be.
Let me take it a step further and say that the untrained human being is animalistic in nature. He says, “Hurt me and rest assured I will get you also” meaning revenge is one of his top solutions to problems. If you wrong him you better watch your back because he is going to find a way to make you feel what you made him feel or worse. To be an exceptional person, you have to fight against all sorts of urges just to get your better judgment out. These include pride, entitlement, arrogance, apathy, irrationalism, and the like. They tend to come out in all of us if we don’t carefully suppress them for the sake of creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
Dr. Patricia, a clinical psychologist had this to say after five years of working with people of different backgrounds and cultures, “I cannot recall the number of times I have watched an individual weep after a realization that they should have apologized sooner to their significant other. Sadly most of these individuals have been women because for some reasons women have been raised to feel more entitled to receiving apologies than their male counterparts. In many cases, this has led to divisions in relationships where women stubbornly held onto their ego at the expense of a happy relationship. It is usually an ugly scenario when they finally get to this realization”
We can learn an invaluable lesson from this expert’s statement and that is the need to resolve conflict as soon as possible. Love can grow cold if issues affecting one emotionally are always sent to the pending rack. If you care for someone you don’t want them to go for even an hour disturbed in their spirit when you can address and fix that. Doubt about whether one is truly loved begins to creep in if they are constantly being hurt and left to deal with it alone. Some apologies come when too much damage has already been done when one has concluded that their bond isn’t that real otherwise empathy should have come naturally.
Seek forgiveness today because time is a limited commodity. There is nothing more that you will know tomorrow that is going to make your apology any better. All there will be tomorrow is a wider emotional space between you and the person whose forgiveness you need.
Once you set your mind to make an apology you may want to do it right and the first box to tick is sincerity. Let your apology be genuine and heartfelt or don’t bother. Don’t make the other person feel like they are a bother for needing you to say sorry. Say it when you mean it or else take some time to come to terms with the necessity of the apology. Once you have done this then you can properly apologize.
The next important thing is the accuracy of the offense you admit to. Often people get unexpected reactions to their plea for forgiveness simply because they apologize for the wrong thing. Yes, this can be discouraging if it took all of you to finally get to apologize only to be turned down for not understanding what exactly the other person is upset about. It would help to engage and allow them to explain it to you so that you meet them at their point of need.
Finally, nothing says “I’m sorry” as much as a change in behavior. It makes no sense to apologize for something that you intend to continue doing, your words become empty if you do this. Wrap up your apology nicely by adjusting your attitudes and actions to show that you have repented of the initial cause for friction.