The Well-Being of an Apology, and In Finding Forgiveness

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“Life become easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got”

The ability to forgive can be a sign of strength in character. However, forgiveness is not something to be handed out like condoms in a gay bar. It takes a level of self respect to know when it is best to, and not to forgive a perpetrator: and that largely depends on the perpetrators actions in seeking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a process. It can often be a long and weary road of endurance; just as it takes two for someone to hurt and be hurt, it takes both parties to reach a position wherein which forgiveness is achieved, or you move on, with protective boundaries between yourself and the perpetrator.

“Actions speak louder than words. We can apologise over and over, but if our actions don’t change, the words become meaningless.” – and this is a much more realistic example of how forgiveness can be negotiated and achieved between both parties. Wounds don’t necessarily heal themselves, and some wounds never heal – but rather instead we cover them as best we can, perhaps hiding them from the world or trying to keep them as clean as we can.

Just because an apology is never received doesn’t mean though, that we can’t heal. Our personal healing is in only the hands of ourselves, and perhaps those with whom we trust our most vulnerable, broken and painful parts of ourselves. Healing can be achieved, and because an apology was never received doesn’t mean that that hurt needs to be carried on throughout every present day, affecting the now from a time before. Although healing can be so much more difficult without an apology, it can still be done, and our own selves can be crafted from what we once were to who we want to be. Each journey is personal.

Not that anyone should grovel, or that forgiveness should be used in order to manipulate, control or extort our perpetrator’s. Instead, forgiveness is about setting personal boundaries to ensure that we don’t get hurt again in the same way by the same people – because just as we are to learn from our mistakes, we are also to learn from our wounds. Some people who we may have once trusted dearly, may never be able to be trusted again: and that’s ok. That’s not unreasonable.

However, is someone is apologetic, and remorseful for their behaviour or actions that caused you hurt, then it is our position and responsibility to accept those gestures, and learn to accept, heal and risk being vulnerable again.

So to say that we find peace in accepting apologies that we never received is rather askew an idea. That we can heal, and choose who and how we forgive is a greater truth, and that forgiveness isn’t always going to be an option, whereas choosing to heal is. There is a difference. It is important. It is within healing that peace can be found, and past inner conflicts quietened in our present lives: and for so many of us, learning to forgive those in our pasts can be such a centrepiece of work in our recoveries from our mental health conditions and our pasts that may have contributed to the struggle.

Definitely, for myself, I have had to accept apologies, and heal from apologies i never received, but in doing so, I have found an inner strength in myself and the boundaries and expectations I set between myself and others.

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