How to Find Forgiveness Without an Apology
Just when you think you’ve let it all go and forgiven someone for things they said and/or did, it’s possible for feelings of anger, resentment, and frustration to resurface.
The ghosts of our “forgiven” past can re-appear out of nowhere as a result of an action or comment that re-ignites the experience. When this happens, we feel as if we are living it completely over, especially when a sense of closure was never reached.
When you had to find forgiveness on your own without an apology, anger and hurt are more likely to return to haunt you again. Forgiveness without closure leaves an open door for that sort of thing.
I had this happen recently. Someone from my past who hurt me a great deal showed up at my house to tell me how much they “appreciated” me for what I brought to their life. When they left, I felt angry and resentful that they could talk about appreciation without acknowledging how much pain they caused. It was if they could just gloss over the hurt with fancy words. I knew I had come to a place of forgiveness at one time, but at that moment I felt as raw as ever. Why did I need an apology now? Why after ten years, did it’s absence make me mad.
When I cooled down enough to want freedom more than retribution,
I began to ask an important question: what would the apology mean to me? I’d never considered that question before, but it seemed important now. Why did I feel that I needed the apology? What would the words “I’m sorry” prove anyway? And then it hit me…Justification.
Generally, the “apology” is what the ego wants/needs to continue feeling affirmed in a situation. Holding out for an apology, as much as we might feel we need it, is really just a way to keep the experience alive. It’s how the ego intends to prove that the other person was Wrong all along, and you are Right…still.
Sometimes when we practice forgiveness, we want to hold onto our judgments. Revisiting old wounds doesn’t mean that we haven’t really forgiven a person or circumstances, it just means that we’re human and our egos can flare up and remind us how pissed off we once were.
But if we examine our need for an apology closely,
beyond forgiveness and the idea of “right” and “wrong” is a better place called acceptance. Wanting an apology is, in a sense, wanting the past to be different, and it can’t be. Acceptance doesn’t need anything to be fixed and therefore doesn’t need to have justice. Acceptance takes things as they are. It allows you to recognize that you’re okay, even with the hurt. You can release the other person to have their own experience of awareness, healing, and revelation according to their own timeline.
Sometimes lingering hurt also signals low self-esteem…as if we deserved to be hurt. Although we think an apology would help, we actually need to heal our disempowering beliefs on our own. With true acceptance, if you assume responsibility to understand yourself, you don’t need the other person to understand you.
If we stop waiting for an apology and justice, we can find acceptance and forgiveness for thinking that we needed to experience what happened in the first place. We can find personal freedom in acceptance and in letting go. When you accept the past for what it was, without trying to change it, you will feel more empowered to make the choice to expect more for yourself next time.
You might also like: Regain Confidence After an Abusive Relationship
or this Free 30-Day Journal for Forgiveness
Please share with anyone you know who might be facing similar challenges!!