Giving Yourself the Apology You Didn’t Receive

Apologies. Making amends. Asking forgiveness. We have all been there on both sides of the “I am sorry.” If we are on the side of asking forgiveness, it means we have recognized a person’s pain and our part in that pain. At its core, saying “I am sorry” means “I see you.” Receiving an apology is a deeply healing moment. It is not uncommon for people to say that is the moment they were able to finally “move on” from a painful wrong.

Most of us, however, have some kind of experience of not receiving the apology.  We believe we need this apology and amend-making in order to transcend the grief, anger, or disappointment in which we are currently stuck. I’m here to tell you that you don’t. There is zero part of resilience that depends on someone else apologizing.

Helpful? You bet.

Necessary? Nope.

In fact, waiting to heal and bounce forward from the adversity that someone else inflicted upon you is merely another way of allowing them to control the narrative of your life. Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber describes the act of holding on to resentment as holding on to a chain that connects us to our offender. That chain becomes a conduit for bitterness, hostility, and anger. We unintentionally allow the person who harmed us continue to hold power over us. Weber says that forgiveness is breaking that chain; it is a declaration that we refuse to be connected to that which harmed us. It makes us free. There is no better path to resilience than through freedom.


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