The Rules of Forgiveness


Sometimes our apologies aren’t enough. Even if you are absolutely sure you will never repeat the same mistake again or are supremely confident you can make things right. Or when you have never meant an apology more in your life. Sometimes, it still falls on deaf ears. That’s the thing about forgiveness; there are two people involved in the equation. Two people with emotions and histories that have to combine and decide if they can continue on.

The worse thing you can do in the scenario is try to control it. You can’t force or beg someone to come to your side. Your needs are not any more important than anyone else’s. And apologies need a fair shake in order to have a chance to survive and heal wounds. But if you can grab hold of that truth first, and follow the next three tips from Zenfulie, then you might have a shot of finding a comfortable medium after all.

Try Taking a Step Back
Some problems, even if we wish they wouldn’t, do take some time to heal. If your apology isn’t sinking in, then two things are happening. First, there’s a larger picture that your missing. Something about this problem isn’t fitting into their comfort zone so easily. Secondly, you’ve been unplugged. Maybe partially, maybe completely. But something about your situation is causing the other person to pull back away from you. It could be your fault. It could not be. But these are facts at hand.

Taking a step back from the problem is a good way to let the dust settle. Time often gets mixed in with apologies as if the two should happen simultaneously. That isn’t necessarily so.  When you cut your finger, the bleeding doesn’t stop immediately. But in a few minutes it might. Same with forgiveness. The difference between a few hours and a few seconds is drastic when it comes to healing. Consider giving the apology some space and time to sink in and heal. Give the other person time to find the value to staying connected to you and feel them make that choice. That will help both of you in the long run know that you’ve mutually decided to move forward. And you’ll never second guess it.side_forgiveness2

Accept That It May Never Take
I have some sad news. This point and the next aren’t about happy endings. Sometimes our apologies just don’t take. At this point, even when we know that they should, the decisions isn’t about us. It’s about the other person. They’ve had as much as they can handle. Stretched as far as they could. Even if you think they can handle so much more, they have decided to stall. And that’s that.

Even thought it’s pretty shitty, the best thing you can do in this case is just accept it. Don’t force your way back. Don’t beg your way in. This heals nothing and the compromise on your part will only turn into resentment later. Just go to the grocery store. Buy ALL the ice cream your card can afford and call it a day. People and opportunities come into our lives to teach us things. You learned how to be better. You will be better. And they will have to just miss out on what that amazing version of you will be. Accept it. Cry about it. And then move on.

Forgive the Unforgiver
side_forgivenessSay what? Yes it’s true and you know it. It’s the same situation as when you made your mistake — everyone in this lifetime is doing the best they can with the information they know. It sometimes comes out funky, but none the less, we are all just trying. The best gift you can give yourself is to forgive the person for not being able to forgive you. You don’t have to talk to them ever again. They don’t even have to know you’ve forgiven them. But what’s important is that you not beat yourself up. Forgiving someone else is a gift that says “I forgive myself too. That I know better and I will do better next time.” It also kinda says, “Eff off, buddy. I’m totally better than you anyway. See. I KNOW how to forgive.” (I tease. Sort of.)

How do I know all this? Cause I recently kinda eff’d up. I totally pissed someone off in a way that I had no intention of doing. I apologized, got to the root of the problem right away, made drastic changes and even gave some space for my words and efforts to sink in. Will I be forgiven? We’ll see. 4 days down, who knows how many to go. I want it to stick. I’m hopeful it will. But the truth is, it could not. However, one thing I do know for sure, is that some how I’m better off having a flaw to fix than never knowing I had a flaw at all. And if forgiveness isn’t in my cards, that’s ok. My future is brighter because it happened and I learned from it. Besides, Zenfulie girls don’t stay in the dark for long. Right?


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