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  • Writer's pictureAcelli Crippen-Kok

Do You Need to Forgive Someone if they Apologize?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

When someone does something absolutely terrible to you, it’s okay to be upset and pissed off. Though you don’t want the feeling of anger to consume you, it’s totally okay to be mad.

You want to feel your feelings, work through them, and then let it go for your own sake. It doesn’t matter if you received an apology or not. Apologies and forgiveness are not dependent on one another. They do not go together like peanut butter and jelly, or spaghetti and meatballs, or biscuits and gravy, or fried chicken and waffles.

forgiveness is not mandatory

But, you may need a bit of time to forgive the person who hurt you. So the question is do you need to forgive someone if they apologize?

Accept Apology or Not?

Apologies aren’t really meant to help the person who has been wronged. It’s more for the person who did you wrong. It makes them feel better when the person they hurt says “I forgive you”. So no, it’s important to remember you don’t have to accept an apology in order for you to forgive someone.

You certainly don’t have to accept the apology before you’re ready to. Take as much time as you need to heal from the wrong that was done, and get back to the offender with the acceptance of their apology at a later time. It’s not your job to make sure they feel better, but it is your job to heal from the pain.

Forgiving Someone is More About Your Well-Being

When you work through what happened, you can more easily forgive someone. Forgiveness is more about your own well-being. It releases the poison running through your mind and body. You can breathe easier without that horrible feeling of betrayal. Because more often than not, someone hurting you was more about their own life choices sucking than about you.

Did they betray your trust? It’s because of their own insecurities and trust issues.

Were you cheated on? Totally not on you!

Whatever the reason they need to apologize, it’s always better to forgive them in your heart and at some point, accept their apology, FOR YOUR WELL-BEING.

Setting Boundaries Is Okay After An Apology

First things first: an apology does NOT mean what the person did was okay and you are NOT obligated to remain in this person’s life. Accepting an apology doesn’t mean you go back to how life was before the damage was done. You can say thanks for the apology, I forgive you, but we’re done.

Second: if you want to give the person another chance, it’s okay to set boundaries even after accepting the apology. If the person can’t accept the boundaries, then it’s up to you to figure out if it is worth remaining in the person’s life. Boundaries are perfectly acceptable and the perfect way to continue the relationship.

Apologies and Forgiveness

Again, I’m saying it because it needs to be said: apologies and forgiveness do not go hand-in-hand. Forgiveness allows you to heal and move on. Apologies are closure for the one who did the damage.

Navigating apologies, forgiveness, and relationships can be difficult to handle alone. You don’t have to go it alone. Let’s do this together.

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