In this weeks 10th episode of the I Simply Am Podcast I answer listener questions from episode 9 on forgiveness and apologies. In addition, I talk about what’s better than happiness and how you can get it. Finally, I give you the weekly ISA Challenge that you can try on your own! Read below for all the show notes and listen to the podcast for the complete show!
Cheyenne Christine Naegler writes in with some questions below (note: I’ve edited her actual message to format for this post. To read her complete message simply visit the original message on the I Simply Am Facebook page.
“A friend of mine has her children respond to other people saying “I’m sorry” with “well, I don’t forgive you right now”. I’ve always kinda thought that was a good idea because I felt that forcing children or anyone to apologize wasn’t solving anything but rather creates people who accepted whatever happened to them. How does that all play into the forgiveness? We are all taught to apologise for doing something that hurts the other person be it accidentally or on purpose which is really a way for saying Please forgive me”, is it not? And is saying “it’s OK” another version of “I forgive you”? If it means the same & we are saying we shouldn’t seek other’s forgiveness nor are we able to truly give it than do we apologise for hurting others?”
First, if someone apologizes to us I don’t think it’s necessary to say, “I don’t forgive you right now”. It’s really none of their business if and/or when you ever forgive them because forgiveness is for yourself not for them. I do think it’s appropriate to say, “Thank you” or “I appreciate that”.
Letting them know you heard them is important and acknowledges that you’ve done just that. However, saying “thank you” or “I appreciate that” doesn’t mean you’re letting them off the hook either. It’s simply an acknowledgment and you can still choose to not talk to them or spend time with them.
To your question regarding replying with an “it’s ok” to an apology? I would only say that if you were truly in a place to do that. Again, forgiveness isn’t for them so it’s just not necessary to say anything other than “Thank you” or “I appreciate that”.
My take on forgiveness vs apologizing:
Forgiveness is for yourself, apologizing is mostly for the other person. An authentic apology isn’t done to get something in return (i.e.; forgiveness). Apologizing is your way of honoring your fallibility and letting the other person know that your behavior was unacceptable. They may choose to forgive you or they may not but you’re doing the responsible thing by honoring your own goodness. If you’re apologizing just so the other person “forgives” you then you’re acting irresponsible at best and inauthentic and manipulating at worse.
Christine: “You mentioned that there are somethings that you just can’t forgive or move past I like to believe that we all choose our path for a reason and pull things to us so that we can learn certain lessons & shape ourselves into who we really are. If we are forgiving ourselves & can’t really forgive other’s than wouldn’t that mean that no matter the trauma you were a victim?”
Yes and No. When we are traumatized by someone else we are a victim. I was held up at gunpoint many years ago and while handcuffed with a gun in my back I was asked if I wanted to die for the money. In that moment I was a victim. However, for many years after I struggled with a lot of fear. While I wasn’t a victim anymore (i.e.; the gun was only in my back for a few minutes while my fear lasted for years) I became a victim to the fear that I carried. My original point in the podcast is that some people were traumatized so brutally (take for example the 3 women that were kidnapped by Ariel Castro in the US) that even though they are no longer victims to their perpetrators they may always be a victim to those feelings they carry (i.e.; the fear). Obviously, they and we hope that they will recover but the point I was making was that the abuse can be so bad that they may never fully be free. It’s not a judgement on anyone, it’s just something that we all need to be aware of.
Todd Adams from Zen Parenting Radio also wrote in with a question:
“Loved the show this week. one thing i was hoping you might answer on your next show was how do we respond when somebody asks us for forgiveness and we haven’t done the work to authentically tell them what they want to hear without being rude?”
This is an awesome question Todd and one I really had to consider before answering! As I mentioned in episode 9 when others ask us for forgiveness it’s a boundary failure on their part. They are more concerned with feeling better about themselves which is why they’re asking in the first place. Second, they’re not concerned with whether or not you’ve healed from whatever happened, they just want to feel better.
Knowing this, you still don’t want to be passive aggressive even when it’s really inappropriate for them to ask you. So, unless you have fully forgiven YOURSELF from the feelings associated with their actions I would reply with one of the following:
“I love you AND I am still having some feelings about what happened.”
“Our relationship is important to me and I need some time to process this.”
“What happened isn’t working for me and I’m going to need time to process this.”
Notice that the statements use “I” and not “you” – it’s about you and they can’t become defensive if you’re talking about yourself here. You don’t want to get into a back and forth with them about what they did or didn’t do. Remember, this whole process about forgiveness is for you in the first place.
ISA Community Shout Out
If you’d like to get an appreciation and a shout out join us on FB, Facebook.com/isimplyam and let me hear from you. I’ll be happy to mention your business or site here on the show.
Show Topic: What’s Better Than Happiness and How You Can Get it! <–Listen to the Podcast for the full show!
- Today’s culture wants us to be happy all the time.
- If we’re not happy something must be wrong.
- We get to feel all our feelings.
- When we minimize one feeling (i.e.; sadness, grief, frustration) we minimize other feelings (happy, joy, hope)
- What’s better than happiness and how can you get it?
- Feeling all your feelings
- Letting your feelings be just what they are and not becoming them
- Not chasing feelings – become addicted to “feeling good” and don’t know what to do when we don’t.
Weekly Challenge: Tell The Truth
1. When someone asks you how you’re feeling, tell them the truth.
2. Don’t respond with “fine”, “ok” or “good”.
3. Instead let them know you’re feeling happy, excited, relaxed or sad, frustrated, or angry
4. Own your feelings and don’t let what others are going to think about your feelings stop you from being honest and having them.
It’s OK to not feel great all the time! If you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling when you’re uncomfortable you’ll get to experience the fullness of happiness and joy when they come around!