Are you waiting for an apology?

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Do you need an apology to forgive someone who has abused or hurt you? Unfortunately, you may be waiting your whole life for that apology.

Many of us spend our whole lives waiting for someone to apologize or take responsibility for their actions and how they hurt us before we decide to let go and forgive.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want someone to take responsibility and apologize for their actions. It’s important to set boundaries and not allow others to treat us poorly. It’s easier to forgive when someone does take responsibility and apologizes for their behavior. But what if they are not willing to apologize or they are deceased? Where does that leave us?

The problem with that scenario is that we have put someone else in charge of how and when we heal. If we truly want to break a cycle and heal, we have to let go of what the other person did or didn’t do.

Forgiveness is for me, not the other person. To forgive is to set a prisoner free only to discover that the prisoner is ME. I’m not condoning another’s actions; I am forgiving because I want to set myself FREE.

I have always believed in forgiveness. Forgiveness is a process, sometimes quick and easy and sometimes long and painful. It took me 3 years to forgive my father who sexually abused me when I was a young girl.

I wanted to forgive him right away when I went into therapy as memories started to surface about the sexual abuse. I wanted to get it over with and didn’t want to feel the pain deep inside.

I’m grateful that I had a wise therapist who guided me, and held my hand and heart as I experienced deep grief, anger, betrayal, and sadness before I reached acceptance and forgiveness. With the grace of God and my willingness to move on, I forgave my father and didn’t need or receive an apology. That is the grace of God for sure. What was important was that I was free of resentment, blame, anger, and feeling like a victim.

Again, forgiveness is for me and not the person I’m forgiving. I forgave a teacher and a priest who sexually abused me in grade school. I never received an apology from them either.

Although I never received an acknowledgment for the abuse from the priest, I sued the Catholic church and won. It felt empowering to stand up and speak my truth and be heard.

Is there anyone in your life who you are having difficulty forgiving? Give yourself the time you need and don’t forgive prematurely because you don’t want to feel the pain and grief inside. Ask Spirit to help you forgive and show you the way. When you are unable or unwilling to forgive, you will not find lasting peace and happiness.

It’s not only others who hurt us that we are invited to forgive. But what about you? Where have you hurt yourself and need to forgive yourself? I had to forgive myself for staying in a marriage for 30 years because I didn’t believe in myself and didn’t think I could make it on my own.  

I forgave myself for “self-induced” suffering for years of taking things personally and feeling responsible for others’ well- being, instead of my own.  In my head, I knew that what others did or didn’t do was about them and not me.

It has finally reached my heart and it feels so good to set myself free from beliefs that never served me. What others do or don’t do, especially family members, is none of my business. It’s their journey and they have their lessons to learn, as I have mine.

I’ve been meditating on this Hawaiian method of apology and forgiveness for years. Ho’oponopono is a centuries-old native Hawaiian method of apology and forgiveness. The four steps in ho’oponopono are remorse, forgiveness, gratitude, and love. Ho’oponopono can be used in person, if the relationship seems irreparable, or if the other person has passed away. It offers methods of creating positive effects in everyday life. This simple four-step system encourages us to focus on difficult conflicts within personal relationships and heal the past. By addressing these issues, owning one’s feelings, and accepting unconditional love, unhealthy situations transform into favorable experiences  

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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