Whenever someone talks about healing the word forgiveness usually comes up in the conversation. Forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing of any kind because it’s a path way into making amends with someone and/or a situation that wronged you in some way. However, rarely, if ever, is healing presented from the perspective of what to do if you don’t receive an apology from the person who wronged you. Then what? How do you forgive and move on from something that hurt you that no one has been held accountable for?
We’re taught as children that an apology is to be received or given when we are wronged or we wrong someone. The only flaw in this system is that it is not foolproof. As we grow we learn that we don’t always get an apology when we feel wronged. We even learn that even if we were wrong the person who wronged us doesn’t even feel bad about how their actions affected us. So what do we do when we are faced with this reality? That hurt feelings do not equal an apology? We take our power back.
- An apology is not the only form of accountability: If we base our emotions over a situation on what we feel we deserve (whether that’s true or not) then we may never be able to get past something that is technically history. If someone wrongs you, then they are in the wrong. Period. You don’t need an apology to validate that and you don’t need an apology to move forward. Taking your power back looks like setting and sticking to boundaries with this person and anyone else moving forward. It looks like not making people pay for the lesson(s) you learned, but ensuring that you utilize your knowledge to avoid having history repeat itself. Accountability is bigger than an apology. It’s you not letting the situation to make you bitter, but better. You may never hear “I’m sorry” but you will have a more prepared arsenal for this thing called life.
- Did I miss something?: You may not want to hear this, but sometimes we find ourselves in the line of fire because we ignored all the signs that the person in front of us wasn’t who they said they were. It’s important to not only hold the person who wronged you accountable, but also yourself. There are very few things in this world that just happen to us. There are very few things that happen to us that we had no control over. Does that make the situation any less painful if you may have not set yourself up in a way to not get hurt? NO! Two things can be true. You could’ve missed, or even ignored some things. That’s okay! We all do. However, in order to heal from it you have to not only forgive the person who hurt you but also yourself for not doing the best job in protecting yourself. In doing so, remind yourself that you can not fault yourself for making decisions that seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Who you are now, may not agree with those decisions but that doesn’t make the old you a bad person either. You did what you could with the tools you had.
- Anger changes nothing: In the past, when someone would hurt me I wanted them to suffer. I wanted them to pay for what they did to me. This anger stemmed from me constantly feeling like life was bullying me. If someone wronged me then I needed retribution to feel better about it. I learned early on that being consumed with the thought of someone paying for what they’ve done doesn’t actually make me feel any better…it also changes nothing. As I’ve said before, once something happens it instantly becomes history. I also said two things can be true and you can still be angry or hurt by the situation and thus you want something to appease that feeling. You can think that anger is the resolution because anger is a wall. It repels and keeps things out. If I’m angry and mean people will leave me alone, and they will. Then what happens? You’re more lonely and pissed off than you were before and still nothing has changed. You may still find yourself angry about things from the past (I know I do!), but I choose to move forward because I know that there is nothing for me in those moments. There is not resolution in the past, but there is light in the future. I choose to walk towards the light than to stay confined to the shadows of the past. I am not here to just hurt and be angry and neither are you!
- A closed chapter is closure: I’ve had many relationships end without a word. No dramatic send offs or even a tense exchange. I just woke up one day and *poof* they were no longer in my life. This used to really get under my skin because I was a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and I need to know what that reason is. I almost felt entitled to knowing why. Today, I do still believe that everything happens for a reason, but sometimes that reason just is. No further explanation needed. It changes nothing if I know why someone did what they did because in the end it still happened and knowing why won’t stop it. A part of moving on and closure (no matter if you have a reason for the relationship ending or not) is accepting that things have come to an end. You have to do that whether you have a dramatic-movie scene closure or non-verbal closure.
- Once something happens it’s history: we don’t get do overs in life. Even if we get a chance to rectify something, we still can never go back and omit or edit things from our past. Once something happened it happened. The very next second after that moment now becomes part of your history. That’s how I view my life. It may sound far to simplistic for some but it is also the truth. I am not devoid of emotions. I get hurt and angry over things too. Just because I know I can’t change something doesn’t mean I don’t have an emotional response to it. However, I’m a lot more realistic when it comes to this. To me this is a self-preservation and time management skill. It is my job to protect myself. In doing so I have to manage things that could or could not impact my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Not allowing myself to dwell forever on history is one of those protective measures I take for myself. Time wise, it does nothing but causes me to to lose time which is also a detriment to myself. Ultimately, I see it as I’ve already gotten my feelings hurt and I don’t think I need to make matters any worse on my own behalf.
I know that getting through things that have hurt you is not easy. It’s a process. It takes time! However, I want you to invest in yourself more but managing that time better. There is nothing for you in replaying the situation over in your head everyday, or blaming yourself, or staying stuck in that moment. The truth is, we are entitled to a life where we come out unscathed. However, we are entitled to one where we make the best of what we have. That all comes down to choice. I want you to feel empowered in your life enough to where you know that things you don’t appreciate can happen but you can handle it! It may not happen over night but you will get through it. If you choose too and no apology can decide that for you!