You feel guilty, full of regret and you cringe when you think about it.
Somewhere in your past you’ve done someone dirty.
And even though you’ve vowed to never make the same mistake again – you wonder if you should come clean, reveal the truth and ask for forgiveness.
Been there? You better believe I have too.
If you’ve wronged someone and you wrestle with whether or not you should ask for their forgiveness, this post is for you. I’ll share my 3 cents with you on these situations, including some of my not-so-common beliefs about forgiveness in general.
As always, my goal is to get you to think and consider new ideas that will hopefully give you the courage, support and perspective you need to do what’s right for you.
And it’s not only my opinion that matters, yours does too.
So, in the comment section tell me what forgiveness looks like for you. Do you think it’s necessary to ask forgiveness from someone that may not even know you did them dirty?
Let’s discuss in the comment section.
Just so you know, salesy or promotional links posted in the comment section will be deleted.
Remember your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
As always, thanks for contributing to this community each and every week.
Until Next Tuesday,
P.S. Know a friend or family member that wrestles with forgiveness? Share this post with them.
P.P.S. If you like this post, then subscribe to the GUC newsletter. As a GUC subscriber, you’ll get access to FREE and exclusive online events, resources and other quirky personal stuff that only my subscribers ever get to see! Enter your name and email above.
#1 Collect And Assess Your Intel
Intel is information and when you’re thinking about approaching someone for forgiveness you want to make sure you’re not overstepping your boundaries.
For example, after living together for nearly 5 years, a former roommate kicked me out of our apartment.
She literally came home one day and said, “you have two weeks to find a new place.”
At the time we were living in Brooklyn and if you’re from New York then you know how difficult and expensive it can be to find an apartment on short notice.
Although I don’t agree with how she handled the situation, I can totally see why she wanted to get rid of me so quickly.
I was a horrible roommate to her. Instead of talking through what bothered me, I’d give her the silent treatment, I was obnoxiously rude to her boyfriend and overall I was just selfish and negative.
I completely regret the way I treated her and at the same time I know reaching out to her now, years later, to ask for forgiveness would be overstepping my boundaries.
Why? Because we’ve both moved on. And to bring up the past now would just kick up old memories that have managed to resolve on their own over time.
Now. I realize that in this scenario my roommate was completely aware of how awful I was.
So, how could this apply to a situation where the other person isn’t aware.
Well I think you can apply the same idea by asking yourself “would bringing up this issue now heal or throw salt in an old wound?
Would taking these steps hurt this other person more than help? Are there other ways you can come to terms with your regret without having to involve the other person? If it’s not the right time to do that?
Another aspect to consider is your relationship. Is this a relationship you’re looking to mend? Is this a person currently in your life that you need to come clean to in order to strengthen your connection? If the tables were turned, would you want to know? Would you want this apology showing up in your life…uninvited?
Although I feel guilty about the way I treated my former roommate, we haven’t been in touch for years and it’s not a relationship I’m looking to fix or rekindle and I’m pretty sure that’s one thing she and I still have in common.
Which leads me right to tip #2.
#2 Let Experience Be Your Teacher
I firmly believe that there’s no one size fits all answer when it comes to forgiveness. This includes the best time, way and when to seek it out.
However, I do believe the best way to figure out this forgiveness stuff is to learn from your own experiences.
Yes, it’s totally okay to ask for advice and support from people you admire and trust about what to do but at the end of the day your best teacher will come directly from you.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or look stupid. You’re only human after all.
Oh and don’t worry, if you think experience is a tough teacher, join the club. As Vern Law once said,
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
#3 Let Your Past Be Your Substitute Teacher
I realize that not all situations involving forgiveness are difficult and complicated. And it’s no secret how healing a moment of forgiveness can be between people.
But if it’s not the right time to ask someone for forgiveness or reveal to them what you’ve done, then let your past be your substitute teacher.
You may not be able to change the past but you can use it as a gauge to avoid making the same mistakes in your present and the future.
As you’ve seen with my roommate, I’m no angel. I would ice her out with the silent treatment and I know at the time it not only hurt her but it also made it difficult for her to feel comfortable in her own home.
Do I regret this? Absolutely. So I use that past experience as a reminder of what not to do in my relationships today.
I know how shitty it feels to not only receive the silent treatment but also how bad the guilt can be years later when you finally wake up and take responsibility.
So I work on not doing it OR I catch myself doing it and apologize right away.
You can do the same with things you’ve done. Even if the other person never figures out or finds out what you did, you can make a huge difference by not doing that thing again.
Remember it’s not only the good experiences that we learn from but we can learn from our mistakes too.
Sometimes the best apology doesn’t come from words but from actions.