Asking forgiveness is never an easy thing to do. You may not find the right words or the right time to apologize. I know. I’ve been in this position before. Sometimes we may hurt someone by stating a lie or doing something behind their back without intentionally wanting to hurt the person. However, the person we lie to may not understand our actions — until we step up to the plate and ask for forgiveness.
I remember being 17 years old living by my mother’s strict rules. As long as you lived under her roof, you had to obey her rules. During that time, I rebelled because my friends were going out and had boyfriends. I wanted to experience the fun. So I would lie about my whereabouts. I had no idea I was hurting mom by putting fear in her. She had no idea where I was or who I was with. She imagined the worst when I didn't respond to her messages or call to check in. My lies caused me to lose her trust — for a while. It took a few years before I owned up to my mistakes and apologized. I finally understood her concerns and realized I wasn’t making her life as a mother easy. After apologizing, I regained her trust.
Before approaching the person you lied to or hurt, you must first accept your negative actions. You must know exactly what you did wrong, why you did what you did and genuinely feel sorry for your behavior. Once you have come to terms with your wrongdoing, you can then express regret.
Here are a few ideas on how to ask for forgiveness:
Write a letter to the person
In this letter, explain why you did what you did and how you know it was wrong. Make it clear that you are sincerely sorry for your negative actions, and you will work extremely hard never to repeat history, again.
Speak to the person face to face
Approaching the person is intimidating. You are unclear of the turnout. However, speaking to the person on a one to one basis is definitely a good sign that you are absolutely regretful for your behavior. Express your feelings and leave it all on the table. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Be sincere. I did exactly this with my mom, and our relationship has never been better.
Do something special to compensate for your wrongdoings
Invite the person out for a nice lunch or dinner. Perhaps cook them their favorite meal. Send them flowers or a fruit basket with a sweet card attached. If you cannot put into your own words how sorry you are, purchase a card that can explain what you are truly feeling inside.
Do not get discouraged or disappointed if the person does not accept your apology. Many people need time to process the apology first. Other people refuse to accept the apology because they are too hurt and may not trust again. Regardless of the outcome, always remember you did the right thing — you asked for forgiveness.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.