It’s pretty easy to stand behind your own anger and offense when someone has hurt you. It isn’t always as easy to be the one who needs to be forgiven. When we’ve made a mistake, many things come into play – anger, shame, defensiveness. These things can really make it hard to ask for or receive forgiveness. If we subconsciously haven’t been very forgiving ourselves, it can be even harder to think we have any forgiveness coming or that others will be willing to forgive us.
Have you ever done something really foolish and actually let your ego or pride get in the way? Maybe you stirred up a story about the other person in your head. This behavior is actually making it harder to forgive them because you are adding more “ammunition to the fight”. No matter how big or small the disagreement, quickly acknowledge your part so you can move on.
One of the keys to receiving forgiveness is to practice it. Forgiving people also helps others to see and understand that mistakes happen, missteps happen, and sometimes we step in it metaphorically. Let go of the thoughts in your head, self righteous stories — the drama. By offering forgiveness regularly, people will see that it is possible to do something regrettable and be absolved. Personally, I think it is a tremendous leadership skill showing your strength and character to be forgiving.
No matter where you’ve been on the forgiveness scale, you can ask for and receive forgiveness if you have done something offensive. Consider these tips as your process how to handle your feelings:
Tip #1. Be Sincere with an Apology
Forgiveness comes best following an apology. The sooner the better and the more specific the apology the better. If you know what you did, be sincere and specific about why that was wrong and how you plan to ensure it never happens again.
Tip #2. Be Willing to Hear Your Impact
Listen. Forgiveness usually comes after an apology and clearing of the air that includes the offended person feeling heard and validated for their pain. Be willing to hear the impact you made and don’t let pride or defensiveness diminish the feelings of the other person.
Tip #3. Be Willing to Not be Forgiven
Asking for forgiveness is a question, not a command. That means hearing “no” may be the result. It is entirely possible that the person you hurt is unwilling or unable to move on at this time. Sometimes people don’t have the maturity to forgive and sometimes they need time to build up grace. Be patient.
Asking for forgiveness is a mature and humbling experience. It is a deep move of your desire to be absolved and also honor the person you offended. If they are unable or unwilling to forgive you, you have done the most important thing you can for restoration by atoning and asking for grace. You can sleep well knowing you’ve done what you can do.
Going forward, modify any behavior that got you into that mess and become a bigger and better person. Offer forgiveness to those in need and realize it is all a cycle and what you put out into the world will eventually come back.
Over the course of our lives we spend most of our time with just 5 people!
Success experts say that WHO we spend our time with is a key influence on
our happiness – and whether we succeed or fail. And experience shows that happy, successful people spend most of their time with other people who are happy and successful.
So, what better time than now to identify those people who inspire and lead you onto better things, and to notice those people who pull you down?
I invite you to book a free Discovery Call if you would like to bring this information to the forefront where you’ll naturally start making different choices about who you spend your time with.
Anne McGurty is a business strategist specializing in creating systems and structures for the creative entrepreneur. She is also a PMP, Project Management Professional, with over 30 years of experience working with corporations and small businesses to improve communication, identify risks, and manage outstanding issues and help keep projects on schedule, adding value, saving time, and money. Anne is passionate about the role of a consultant and coach to her clients and brings a healthy, life balance perspective to her approach as she is a thriving cancer survivor.