NOTE: This is a guest blog by the inspiring Lindsay Kriger
Everyone makes mistakes. Almost everyone gets dumped. (Guilty.) Or gets dumped by someone. (Guilty again.) Everyone will break someone’s trust. (Umm…er….guilty again.) Or will lose face at one time or another. (Yep. Guilty yet again.)
But remember: This is all part of what makes us so beautifully human. Plus, when we fall, we have the opportunity to wake up – and gain insights which will help to make us even more beautiful as someone who is beautifully human.
There’s an old saying, “Trust takes a lifetime to build, but a moment to shatter.” So when you’ve broken someone’s trust, how can you start to rebuild? What are some ways to make it up to the person you’ve wronged?
The path to being forgiven starts with your intention.
Are you apologizing because you genuinely learned a lesson, feel remorseful, and a want to change your ways? Or do you really just want a band-aid for your feelings of guilt?
Check in with yourself first, and remember: If you want the forgiveness to be genuine, then your need for it can only come from a place of real love, and an honest desire to make things right.
If you’re truly ready to ask for forgiveness, and start building back up trust, these are the steps that will guide you in the right direction.
The 4 Steps toward Forgiveness
Step #1: Forgive yourself
We all make mistakes. What’s important now is to do your best to learn from the situation – and make it right. Take a deep breath. Don’t forget to love yourself, no matter what the outcome.
Step #2: Take responsibility
Genuinely apologize. Stop playing the blame game. Prove to them that you empathize with how they must be feeling, and that you understand how deeply you’ve affected them.
Avoid making excuses. Instead of trying to insist you aren’t in the wrong, or reframe your actions in a softer light, let them know you’ll do everything in your power to make it right.
Step #3: Tell them you hope that they can forgive you (when they are ready)
Don’t push them to accept your apology on the spot. Give them time, but also don’t hesitate to tell them exactly what you’re committed to doing differently.
For example, “I’m so sorry I’ve been neglecting you, and dedicating all my time to my career. I’m committed to getting serious about us time – just you & me. I have some ideas for some weekend fun for us…!”
However – make sure you only make promises that are realistic. Leave the empty words at home.
Step #4: Ask them if there’s anything they need from you.
Is there an action you can take now that will allow you to start proving yourself? It helps to start taking action before you even ask for forgiveness of course! But by asking them this as well, you’re showing a very real desire to fix what you’ve damaged.
What it all boils down to:
When we ask for forgiveness we are asking for permission to “give as before.”
Until a person forgives us, they don’t allow us to give to them as we once did. They put up walls. This is what pains us. We have lost access to their hearts because of our actions.
This is why forgiveness is such an important gift. It’s an emotional release that allows the wrong-doer to restore their honor and integrity, while learning a valuable life lesson along the way. It helps you to step into being the person you’re meant to become.
We get to decide how and who we want to be in this life. Everyday is a new chance to rebuild our relationship with ourselves, as well as the people around us.
When we forgive ourselves, we jump back into the game of life. We give ourselves permission to play at our full potential again– without the crippling power of guilt, or the nagging feeling that we don’t deserve things because we’ve harmed other people.
Don’t run from your desire for forgiveness out of embarrassment or shame. Forgiveness is healing for everyone involved. We will all need to forgive and be forgiven at one point or another.
So be patient with yourself. Remember, you are beautifully human. (Happily, admittedly guilty.)
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.