This quick blog is prompted by my own situation.
I am in the uncomfortable position of wishing for, needing, someone’s forgiveness. I behaved foolishly, getting carried away with how clever I thought I was, and they ended up getting hurt.
I have apologised unconditionally. That does not mean that I am forgiven and I accept that, also unconditionally.
While I wait for forgiveness (I may be waiting some time) I have put these few thoughts down.
Forgive only when you are ready
I observe that many of us, me included, when we have been wronged find ourselves under implied pressure to forgive once an apology has been made. What if, however, you are still feeling wronged and it still hurts?
Well my view is do not forgive. Do not forgive until it makes sense to you.
If you forgive someone because you think you “should” and it is before you are ready then you haven’t really forgiven them. Once you forgive them you let them off their hook of shame and they feel relief. They can behave normally around you again. You, however, may find those complex thoughts and emotions flooding your brain such as “it’s alright for them, back to normal when I still have to deal with the fallout.”
If that’s the case you have “forgiven” them too early. In other words you have not yet forgiven them. That’s ok. Forgive when you are ready.
You also benefit from your act of forgiveness
We often mix up forgiveness with something we do for another. It is, ultimately, an act of kindness to ourselves. Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for them. It allows you to move on, be free of ruminating and living in the past and continue to have a healthy relationship with the other person. There is a certain feeling of settling that occurs when you know you have forgiven and moved on.
If you want to explore forgiveness a little more there is another blog I wrote almost 10 years ago here.
Meanwhile here’s a few quotes around forgiveness that I find hit the spot.
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”
“When you hold resentment towards another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
“Forgiveness is the choice to see people as they are now. When we’re mad at people, we’re angry because of something they said or did before this moment. By letting go of the past, we make room for miracles to replace our grievances.”
Want to learn more?
If you want to keep working on your own emotional development in a safe online environment that provides deep insight, plenty of awareness and all the tools you need take a look here. It is available for individuals, businesses and organisations.
If you require a chat about our great workplace interventions then send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a no expectations chat.