Do You Know How to Ask for Forgiveness?

January 11, 2017

We all make mistakes, fail and are wrong sometimes. Usually when these happen, however, we quickly realize that as soon as it has been done or spoken, we have an evaluation mechanism that sets off, almost automatically.

Sometimes our failures are hurtful or go against the people we love, as contradictory as this may seem.

Who hasn’t made a hurtful, out of place comment with an unfounded accusation, judged someone without having the least bit of right to do so, or taken out their own anger on the first person they encountered?

When this happens, and we realize our mistake, we often face the task of asking for forgiveness or an apology. Something that seems so simple from the outside often becomes a complicated process. You may think that by asking for forgiveness, you’re not only only recognizing your faults, but also showing your weaknesses.

It’s also possible that the person who suffered the damage may have hurt us in the past, and still hasn’t apologized. Why should we make that effort if the other person hasn’t? Other times it’s due the circumstances themselves. We simply don’t cross paths again with the person we’ve harmed; on occasion, shame also acts as a limiting barrier. Finally, a reason that can be attached to all of the above is not knowing how to ask for forgiveness.

A good apology consists of three elements:

  • I’m sorry: When you apologize, explain to the other person that what hurt them has caused you pain, as well. That you never meant for it happen and that if you could turn back time and take it back, you would. By expressing yourself in this manner, you open the other person’s empathetic channel create a dialogue in which the main characters are feelings. If you do this, you’ll have the power to access the deepest wound you’ve ever caused, and heal it from the inside-out.
  • It was my fault: When you apologize, you assume the responsibility for what happened. You assume that’s its you, and not someone else, who bears responsibility for what happened. This partly reflects the maturity of the person who apologizes, and also transmits confidence to the person on the receiving end.
  • How can I correct it?: Sometimes the pain you’ve caused can’t be repaired immediately, but sometimes it can, and often times you just don’t know how. Voluntarily reimbursing the person you’ve hurt or showing the will to do so will show them that you’re giving the situation all of the attention and importance it deserves. On many occasions it simply takes time. The affected person needs to know that the apology you’re making isn’t a mere formality or a way to hush up the matter as soon as possible, and consider it ancient history.

If your request for forgiveness contains these three elements, you’ll have a much better chance of it being effective, and of the affected person understanding you and feeling comforted by what you are conveying.

Image courtesy of Auremar