Sometimes your inner pain feels never-ending like there’s no way out of it. Something triggers you to relive a time you don’t want to revisit. Thoughts consume you. Feelings take over, leaving you raw with emotions once again. You might be holding onto resentments that haven’t healed. You may desperately need an apology as the first step to move forward.

While you are waiting for an apology, the person who should be giving it to you may or may not know it needs to be given. When is an apology warranted? In my opinion, any time you have caused mental, emotional, or physical pain. Not everyone believes in giving apologies like I do. For some, pride gets in the way. Maybe for others, they don’t even know they have caused pain, period. In some cases, time runs out and the person who should have apologized to you passes away and takes the apology with them.

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What if you’ll never get the apology that you need?

There’s a chance the apology that you need to hear may not ever happen. Whatever you have been keeping close to your heart may be deeply rooted in a painful experience. It could also be something that just rubbed you the wrong way, but you haven’t been able to let go of the grudge. No matter the reason, you hold the power to decide how you are going to handle this reality.

Why have you held onto this resentment for so long? Deep down, I bet that you would love to let it go and heal from the emotional wounds. What keeps you stuck in the pain? It has become part of your story, how you define yourself and how you live your life. You have lived this story for so long, you don’t know life differently than that. It’s part of your existence. How has it actually served you?

My guess is that this pain and resentment have served you in some way. Why else would you keep it hidden away for such a long time? Sometimes it is a matter of comfort. You have lived this pain as part of your story – it’s what you know. It’s easier to accept that instead of working through the hard stuff and healing. I would even bet that if it still stirs up bad thoughts and feelings, or your self-worth has suffered because of it, then it has not served you in a positive manner. Why hold onto it any longer if that is the case?

It’s time to make a decision. You can remain in pain, ignore the idea of growing beyond your hurt and keep it all to yourself, just as you have been doing. The other option is to forgive without an apology. Accept that it is time for you to heal, despite how uncomfortable that is or will be for you. Know that forgiveness will open the door to a life of light beyond the story that has kept you feeling stuck, invisible, or like you don’t matter to anyone, let alone yourself.

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Forgiveness is For YOU

It is possible that you have been expecting an apology that may never happen. If you want to take back your power, you can rise above starting now. It takes time and a willingness to work through the hard stuff. Your courage and strength will keep you going. It may feel uncomfortable and freeing at the same time.

I want to share with you how I moved beyond my emotional pain and started healing.

Recognition. I first had to recognize the apology I needed wasn’t happening. In my case, there were two main reasons: (1) the person has no idea of the pain caused to me, and (2) the person passed away.

Awareness. The next step was becoming aware that I held the power to move beyond the negative feelings with or without the apology. By holding onto the idea of something that likely wasn’t going to happen, I was giving power to the apology, not keeping it to myself. Giving away my power gave me permission to make up excuses for my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It gave me permission to keep harboring all of the icky stuff.

Deciding to Forgive. Thinking about forgiving someone and actually doing the work of forgiveness are two different things. Both involve hard work. Forgiving someone comes when you are ready. How do you know when you are ready? You will just know. Your intuition will give you clues. Maybe when you read some of my blog posts, they resonate with you, opening you up to the idea of healing. Your intuition may give you that “gut” feeling, as if something is nudging you to start the healing process. Forgiveness happens when you are ready, and you must trust yourself. The power is within you.

Forgive. What does that actually look like? Forgiveness is different for everyone. It is personal and is right for you. Below are some of the ways that I have found helpful for myself. If any of them resonate with you, you are welcome to explore one or more for yourself.

Before you begin the process of forgiveness, take some time to ground yourself or meditate through breath work. Clearing your mind and entering into forgiveness with peace and calm is the best way to approach this process. Then find a quiet place, free of distractions, and begin.

  • Say it aloud. I forgive (insert person’s name) for (insert what happened or what was said). I have held onto this for too long. My wounds are deep. I have bled out in life, all over myself and everyone else. I am ready to break free of the pain. I will free myself to live a better life.
  • Envision it. Daydream this one. In your daydream, pick a place that brings you peace or joy. Envision all of the details, and use your senses to feel, hear, and smell the experience. Once you are there, imagine the person you need to forgive is with you in this place. Inviting this person into your place of peace and joy may make you uncomfortable at first, so continue focusing on deep breathing if that happens. When you are ready, have the conversation you need to have with this person. Say what is on your heart and mind with love and kindness. Tell this person that you forgive him or her, and you are ready to release them from any painful memories that have been harbored.
  • Write a letter. Taking time to write a letter to the person you need an aplogy from or need to forgive can be a very healing step. Writing allows you to process your thoughts, put them into words, and say what you want to say on your time. You can choose to send the letter to the person if he or she is still living. If mailing the letter is not an option, read the letter to yourself in the mirror.

Remember, deciding to take steps towards healing is difficult, but incredibly powerful. Forgiveness takes time. You will know that you are ready because you will come to a point when you just feel as though the time is right. Be gracious to yourself and your timeline of healing. The process isn’t linear. Take the path that works for you.