Although you can genuinely forgive a person, some things people do to you require more than a simple apology. Even if the person accepts your apology, this may not always take away the pain of the wrong you have done. When you do certain wrongs to an individual, you need to work to demonstrate to the person you’re truly sorry. Your goal should be to restore that person’s confidence in you again. It can become quite unsatisfying to allow people to do whatever they please to you and then pretend that an apology heals everything.
If you will be honest, you will admit that an apology does not heal everything someone does to you. Yes, forgive everyone for everything he or she does to you. Don’t try to pretend that forgiveness cures the pain of all wrongdoing, however.
Determine in your mind that you’re not going to do things that cause people constant pain. We all, of course, make mistakes. Unfortunately, we all don’t elect to work tirelessly to repair the damage that our mistakes produce.
You shouldn’t be so self-absorbed that you don’t even realize the harm that you do to others. Wake up and acknowledge the destructive impact of your words and actions. Your actions are not going to improve until your mind experiences a transformation. How you think determines your actions. If you think negatively, then your actions are going to be negative.
Those who have been sincerely hurt by things that people have done have to recognize when people are making efforts to recompense for their transgressions. It’s not healthy for broken people to decide that they’re going to be angry with those who have wronged them for the rest of their lives. When you do this, you share some of the blame for the wrong that was done to you: your unwillingness to make room for healing does not allow change to happen.
Why isn’t an apology always enough, though? The core reason why an apology is often not enough is an apology is frequently just the beginning of the process of your part in helping a person to heal from the pain you have caused. When you accept full responsibility for your wrongs, then you will embrace what needs to be done to restore a person to his or her previous state. You will discover that while you’re helping someone to heal that you can see healing manifest itself in your own life.
Let’s change our mentality that an apology should always be good enough. Let’s change our focus to healing instead just forgiving and apologizing.
Call someone today that you have done wrong and let the person know that you are more than sorry for the wrong that you’ve done to him or her; let him or her know that you plan to participate in his or her healing process. Although you may have originally thought that the person was just being overly sensitive, and he or she may have, the fact is you will be a better person for doing the appropriate things to mend this broken person.
Wouldn’t America and the world truly be better if many broken relationships were repaired?
Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
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