In a perfect world, none of us would make a mistake and no one would have to ask for forgiveness. What an unfortunate world of AI-driven robotic people that would be!
Forgiveness is difficult if the offender does not feel or express they have caused any damage and do not show they are apologetic. Only a few people have the inclination or strength to forgive us without our asking. So, if we wouldn’t ask, we shouldn’t expect it too.
Even when that person is generous enough to forgive us without asking, they may hold sadness in their heart while doing so. So, they forgive us but also suffer a great deal of unexpressed pain each time our action flicks their memory.
How to get someone to forgive you?
The good thing is, most of us understand when our mistakes have caused deep emotional distress. When we hurt people we care about, the guilt makes us feel terrible, so we want to apologize. We feel we can’t move on until we know we’ve said “I’m sorry” to the people we’ve hurt.
It is difficult to forgive people who wronged us. More often than not, we push them away and spend more time thinking about the wrong they did instead of trying to find a solution. And the same would be the case with those we ourselves have wronged.
It is often difficult to make someone forgive you for your grave mistakes, but it is not entirely impossible. It could take time, but we could get it done with a little effort.
Here are some ways you could make someone forgive you:
1. Showing Empathy
Showing empathy can help people forgive and let go of their anger easier.
Empathy is the understanding of how they are feeling after our wrongdoing. It is about walking in their shoes trying to feel the same emotions and think the same thoughts as they do.
If you understand their pain, their anger, their sorrow, their sadness, their regret, their fear, you would see how to apologize to eliminate those feelings.
An apology based on empathy is effective in making someone forgive you. This is because it shows the person you understand their pain, how sorry you are, and want to make things normal again.
2. Offering A Complete Apology
Apologizing shows you have taken responsibility and will accept consequences for your actions. It shows the person you hurt that you have a conscience. It is a way to let go of the anger and hatred that often results from being hurt.
A complete apology comes with five in-built conditions:
- First, accept you made a mistake.
- Second, tell them you are regretful.
- Third, ask for forgiveness with humility.
- Fourth, assure them you will not repeat it in the future.
- And fifth, ask them what you could do to set it right.
3. Create The Right Environment
A crucial thing is to respect their time and their space. Planning a few little gestures of goodwill, such as flowers or a gift, can show the other person you were listening to and willing to put in some effort to take responsibility for what happened.
4. Be Transparent And Honest
The most important condition is, to be honest about the mistake. We must not lie about it, nor offer a simple acceptance of our misstep. Either can only add more fuel to their anger or bitterness.
If an apology is not honest, they will find out about it, which will only make things worse.
5. Write An Apology Letter
One helpful way to make someone forgive you is to start by writing a sincere apology letter. The apology should come from the heart and not merely copied from a template.
After that, it is important to stay away from contacting this person until they accept your apology.
And finally, if they reject your apology, then it’s best if you don’t try again because they might see it as you trying to guilt-trip them.
Many people do not mail the letter but convey the content in person. The act of writing can help clear our minds and arrange our thoughts neatly.
6. Wait Patiently For Full Forgivance
Forgiveness is a process. Not everyone can forgive easily or quickly. Sometimes, it may take years and many apologies to be fully forgiven. So, do not rush it.
- It may be because of the misperceptions they have against forgiving, like forgiving is to appear weak or condone the act.
- Another reason is the after-pain of the hurt can be too unbearable to allow forgiving.
- Some people think holding on to the hurt is more manageable than accepting an insincere apology.
- Many think not forgiving is an effective excuse to keep that person away from their lives.
When we want someone to forgive us, we must keep in mind that all of it may not come at the same time.
7. Apologize Again (After They Forgave You)
Apologize again if necessary after they have accepted your apology because people tend to feel uneasy about forgiving. They often feel as if forgiving was the right thing to do because they are not more sure if you would do the same thing again.
It’s also important to find out if the other person is still angry or upset with us. If they are still sad or resentful, it is almost imperative to apologize again, unless they have cut off all contacts with us.
Psychology And Getting Forgiveness
- Psychology defines forgiveness as a deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward those who harmed you, irrespective of whether they deserve your forgiveness.
- Forgiveness does not imply that what happened was acceptable. Forgiveness does not imply they, whom we hurt, accept us. Instead, forgiveness is the decision to accept what happened as a part of the past rather than lingering on what should or could have happened.
- So, our desire to get forgiveness has some scientific basis.
- Research points out forgiveness involves giving up the demand to punish the wrongdoer and decreasing negative feelings towards them. It also entails seeing the event from a neutral point of view and full acceptance.
- Of course, we are all human, and that is why we make mistakes. Also, as humans, we are naturally forgiving and understanding. We care for people in our society, and we love our close ones.
- We forgive others usually if their sins are not too grave. We feel we almost have to accept the mistakes we have made and ask for forgiveness. So, when we make mistakes, we expect others to understand us and similarly forgive us.
- Now, the thing is sometimes we get forgiven easily, and sometimes it takes long efforts to get our forgiveness. One factor that affects whether or not someone forgives us easily is the degree of the emotional pain they feel after we hurt them. The type of pain depends on the nature of the mistake we made, how much we hurt them, how bad they felt about it, and how remorseful we are.
- Research shows harboring anger, resentment, and malevolence can have a detrimental impact on our physical and emotional health and our relationships (Gordon et al., 2009).
- Moreover, when people report higher levels of forgiveness, they also tend to report healthier habits and low levels of depression, anxiety, and anger.
Why It Is Difficult To Make Someone Forgive Us
- The biggest problem is when they seek our apology, we say a few words to show we are apologizing, but we use copious words to defend our action. We even go aggressive in the defense of our hurtful behavior.
- When confronted, we point out we did it for the best of both of us, but could not understand how it hurt them. It is precisely this that makes many of our close ones find they cannot forgive us. They are never sure if our apology is genuine and if we will ever take reparative action to set things right.
- Since we do not promise to not repeat our actions, they are also unsure if we deserve their forgiveness. So, even when they choose to forgive us, they may not truly do so.
- As hard as it may be to believe, some of us believe forgiveness is a learned behavior. We go about our lives thinking the person will forgive us because, over the years, we have habituated them into forgiving us. So, they will forgive us every time we utter “Sorry.”
- Let’s get this right. Never torture the victim into forgiving you. Their forgiving has nothing to do with how we feel because our apologies went not responded to.
- Many people have a hard time forgiving others who have hurt them, and some of the most common reasons are fear of retribution, guilt, and self-blame. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but there are some things you can do to help ease your way.
- We often spend a great deal of time getting our point across than listening to what others have to say. If you are one of those, you probably should learn the art of listening to someone attentively before telling people your side of the story and forgive you.
- Another mistake is what you’re going to tell them could be an excuse dolled-up as an explanation. So, make sure what you are about to say is not a justification or defense.
The best way to get someone to forgive us is to show we understand we caused them hurt. When asking for forgiveness, we must genuinely care about what they have to say. At all times, we must be respectful of their boundaries.
The key is to show that you have a great wish to change yourself for the better and not repeat your hurtful act. Once you have done that, you can start thinking about how to follow through with your promises.