1 min read

I'm sorry - forgiveness in the context of a relationship

At the desk, 7:47 a.m.

In the last few days, I've tried to express my thoughts about forgiveness - Unforgiveness is a Cancer & Forgiveness = Judgment. There is a third facet to forgiveness - forgiveness in the context of a relationship.

For someone who has such intricate thoughts about forgiveness, I say I'm sorry quite a bit. I realize that in my impatient bumbling through life, I am capable of deeply wounding people without even knowing it. Or to riff off Ivana Vanzant, I know people are on the therapist's couch because of me.

I'm always sorry when I hurt someone's feelings.

How does this all fit together?

Very simply. It goes like this.

I am me. I am responsible for my own emotions and actions.

You are you. You are responsible for your own actions and emotions.

We have a relationship - friendship, acquaintanceship, partnership, mentorship, whatever. This is a third thing.

When I hurt someone, intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly, I not only damage the other person, but I also damage this third being - the relationship.

It's on me to give a good apology - saying I'm sorry, listening deeply to the damage I may have cause, asking what I can do to make it better, and trusting the person to do what they need to do to take care of themselves.

By giving a good apology I attend to two things - the feelings of the person and the relationship.

Because I believe forgiveness is an inside job, I trust that each individual will do, say, ask for, whatever they need to get past whatever has happened. But the relationship,  this third being, doesn't have voice or body or physical manifestation. I must attend to it if I want that relationship to last.

I also should say that I hold myself to pretty high standards. I believe in acting honorably and with integrity. I believe in kindness. I understand the wealth that I've been given and am generous in turn. I strive very hard to maintain my relationships and only let them go when it's absolutely necessary.

And still, I hurt people. I think it's human nature.

So I apologize easily; forgive internally; and love well.

I'm sure this is as clear as mud. Feel free to ask as your questions also help me clarify my thoughts.