Everyone does something wrong at one time or other in their lives. You may have hurt someone physically or emotionally or broken a trust. But human beings have an immense capacity for forgiveness. If you approach the person you hurt in the right way, you stand a good chance of gaining their forgiveness. However, it does take some work on your part.
Here’s some practical advice on how to get people to forgive you:
1. Forgive yourself
It’s a difficult fact for some people to come to terms with but we are all human and we all do things wrong sometimes. It’s just who we are. You need to find a way to forgive yourself for what you did and that will allow you to move on and seek the forgiveness of other people.
2. Face up to what you did
It’s no good going into denial in order to forgive yourself. The facts are that you did whatever it was you did and that hurt someone. That won’t change just because you deny it but facing up to your guilt will start to make a change.
First, try looking in the mirror and saying “I know what I did was wrong because…” Next, you should try approaching the person you hurt and admitting your guilt to them to. Don’t be scared of that because unless what you did was really bad like a serious crime, the other person is likely to respond well to your approach.
3. Say sorry
“I’m sorry” sound like such simple words yet they can be very difficult to say, especially if you feel guilty. But they are important if you are ever going to get the other person to forgive you. It’s much more unlikely they will forgive you without you accepting guilt and apologising.
4. Give the other person some space
Saying sorry should happen as soon as possible after you caused them offence. However, they may not accept it at first. That is why you need to back off after an apology and give the other person time to process it. They will need time to figure out if you were sincere (you better be!) and if they can find it within their heart to forgive you.
5. Stay calm
It can be difficult to keep cool, especially when you have worked yourself up to make an apology, a difficult thing, if it isn’t accepted immediately. But don’t panic and don’t react angrily and blow all your hard work. Very often, in time, they will be willing to listen to you again.
6. Never make excuses
Of course at the time of causing offence you had your reasons for it, but they won’t help now. And the fact is that no matter how justified you felt, it is never okay to upset someone. At the very least, you should have tackled things differently to avoid any upset. So never try to excuse your behaviour.
7. Let the other person talk
A big part of getting someone to forgive you is in them feeling that you acknowledge the pain you caused them. Therefore, it’s important that you let them tell you this. They may get angry, but you must not do the same. Remember, you can’t control what they do and they are human too so they may make mistakes; but you are absolutely responsible for how you behave.
8. Be willing to change
It’s no good saying sorry now, and then, carrying on behaving in the same way. Feeling guilty is all about you; it doesn’t help the other person or induce forgiveness, but altering your behaviour for the better does.
If you have truly examined your own actions, accepted responsibility for them and seen the error of your ways, you should see pretty clearly where and how your behaviour needs to change. Making a positive change speaks volume to the person your hurt. That way, they can truly see that you are sorry and want to change, so that is a great method for knowing how to get people to forgive you.