People make mistakes all the time, after all, no one is perfect. In our fallibility, it's inevitable to occasionally cause someone an inconvenience, make a mistake, and possibly even hurt a person with our actions. It's possible for miscommunication, misunderstanding, and mistakes to take center stage in a relationship when conflicts arise. And because people are often not willing to admit fault or assume responsibility, it may remain that way for a while. Worse, it could even stay that way forever.
Sometimes, there are irreparable damages in relationships. Other times, there are temporary and minor fallouts that only take an honest, sincere apology and the words "I'm sorry," provided they're said in a heartfelt manner. But saying sorry is not always an easy thing to do. No wonder there is a famous old song that goes ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word.' It captures the sentiment accurately. It takes a ton of selflessness, maturity, and humility to own up to a fault.
Conflicts are normal and may even be necessary. Differences come up every time we relate with others, and they often need to be sorted out to move forward and to build and maintain harmonious relationships. Unfortunately, in our interactions with others, there may be those you come across who are not willing to say they are sorry.
If that happens to you, take comfort in knowing that forgiveness is still a requirement for resolution on more than one level. It may require an overt display of ‘forgiveness' or at least acceptance, to move on from a difficult situation; to achieve peace.
If peace or a resolution is important to you, know that the ability to move past conflict is an attribute of healthy individuals. This may seem distasteful, and not in keeping with ‘being true to yourself.' Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, and sometimes compromise is needed.
Sometimes, you need to do whatever it takes to take your power back (even when the other person will never be coerced to say sorry or feel remorse for what they have done). You will find that some people are never willing to admit fault, even if they know deep inside that they are wrong, for reasons that may be deeply personal.
At another, deeper, more personal level – even if the other person cannot say sorry, or even admit fault, forgiveness is necessary for your own emotional wellbeing; to be able to move forward. Unresolved resentment has destroyed joy in too many people, too often.
Here are helpful ways to initiate forgiveness, and perhaps even say ‘I forgive you', to the person who you believe is the one who really needs to be apologizing for their actions.
Look at Your Emotions
You are a human being with emotions, so don't deny your feelings, but taking some accountability for how you feel and not just blaming the other person will help you heal faster emotionally. Recognize your own power and the fact that you have a choice. We have no control over what others can do to us or what they say to (or about) us, or what they think about us, but how much we allow another person to influence our emotions is entirely up to us.
We all need to express ourselves to make sense of our emotions, and you don't need to keep it all to yourself. If talking to the person who wronged only adds more insult to injury, find someone else who you trust and confide in. An objective party might be able to shed some light on the situation. Venting your feelings to someone can effectively make you feel better.
Ultimately, it is up to you whether you can say ‘I forgive you' to the offending person, or simply forgive without saying anything, but recognize that you may be damaging yourself more than them in not doing so.
Recognize Your Actions
It takes two to tango. Learning to recognize your part in the conflict is a helpful way of putting things in perspective. This is not about blaming yourself, but simply recognizing that your own actions may have played a role in the first place. It's easier to let go of intense, negative feelings, when you pause and acknowledge that nobody is perfect (not even you). Conflicts are normal for people with differences.
Are you ready to say, ‘I forgive you' yet?
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Are You Focusing on the Past or the Present?
Growing resentment has a lot more to do with being stuck in the past, rather than focusing your attention in the present. It's normal to feel angry or upset when you've been wronged by someone, but if that was some time ago, you should make some real effort to feel less affected by it. Holding on to past aches only hurts you more than the person who caused you the pain. Learn to let it go, and learn to forgive.
Make Your Peace a Priority
Keeping past hurts and resentments grants another person tremendous control over your well-being. Your peace of mind shouldn't be dependent on others. Peace of mind doesn't coexist with hatred, so take comfort in the fact that saying ‘I forgive you' is not much about the other person, but it is as much about yourself, and your peace of mind.
Every now and then, you need to let things go to attain peace. If the other party won't take that role, then who else is there but you?
Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.' Your ability to forgive other people is a reflection of your courage and inner strength.