When Someone Won’t Forgive You

Maybe you did not intentionally treat someone badly, but if they were hurt, you must accept that you did. Perhaps it stemmed from a misunderstanding, or maybe you were focused on your own needs and disregarded the other person. Whatever happened, yes, sometimes we do or say something that hurts someone enough that we will not be forgiven.  It takes a lot for some people to forgive others actions.

Ouch.

When you encounter a situation in which you seek forgiveness and it is withheld, your reaction will be key in determining how both you and the other person move on from this moment.  What do you do when someone won’t forgive you?

Reflect.

Ironically, a common reaction to being confronted with someone else’s hurt is anger. We are quick to become defensive and even feel that we are being treated unfairly because the person is blaming us for their pain. The accusation of hurting someone, whether appropriate or not, can cause feelings of rejection or inadequacy. Getting mad delays feeling these underlying emotions. This type of reaction, anger, and feeling hurt ourselves, is an ego-driven reaction. This type of reaction completely shifts focus from the person we’ve hurt and selfishly only focuses on ourselves. If you find this is your initial instinct, it is very important that you step back and reflect. The other person’s hurt forces an uncomfortable truth- I’m capable of hurting someone. We are all capable of hurting other people, including you. Let that fact in. Don’t lose sight of this truth by focusing only on your own sense of injustice.

Make amends.

Try to make amends. If you are sorry, say so. After you have apologized, take action that will show the person you are sorry. When some time has gone by, say you’re sorry again. It is worth repeating. Do not offer your apology with an expectation of forgiveness. The other person does not need to absolve you of the hurt you caused them just because you are sorry. Making amends is about showing contrition or remorse for what has occurred. While it will not free you of having hurt someone, it will make you feel better to do what you can to make up. No matter how egregiously you treated someone, don’t retreat. Do what you can to make the other person feel better. If you use your shame or guilt as an excuse to hide and not face the person you hurt, you will only make the situation worse.

Forgive yourself.

Don’t minimize what you have done. Your actions affect other people and it is important to fully take that knowledge in. Try to understand your actions and accept responsibility for them. Once you have reflected on the situation, when you have tried to make amends, then it is time to forgive yourself. Accept that you are human and you are fallible. You will make mistakes and you deserve forgiveness from yourself.

Lastly, someone’s refusal to forgive you is a reflection of them, not you, or the event that you’re seeking forgiveness for. Staying mad shows a lack of maturity on their part and could prevent them from moving forward, but once you have accepted responsibility for your part and done what you can to make amends, there is nothing more you can do for that person.

Sending lots of love to you. ~Heidi <3 

 

 

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Related Articles: How To Know When It’s Time to Let Go of the Past and Forgive Yourself

How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life and Make You a Stronger Person 

 

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1 Comment
  1. Ricky says

    Hi Heidi,

    I had a really bad argument with a friend of mine at the start of the year. I was very drunk and I still can’t remember all of the evening but I think it was pretty ugly from what I can remember. My friend has completely ignored me since then. We met up again a few months ago, only after I went to the bar she works in, so I thought that was a sign we could hang out again, but when I tried to get back in contact she said the same thing, that she doesn’t want to hang out with people who ‘lose respect after a couple of drinks’ (even though we went out together alot of times in the past and everything was fine). The last message I sent her was that I really hope she is never in the position where she needs someone to understand her and they completely exclude her, and that it is a horrible thing to do to someone. Still, she wont talk to me, or send me any response. I find it really hard to be ignored by people, especially those I felt I was close to, when something means alot to you and the other person seems to treat it like it is nothing. It still eats me up inside, all these months later. I thought it was a little bit sadistic actually to meet with me again, and then still keep up this grudge, I think anyone in my situation would take that as a positive sign that we could be friends again. It is especially hard for me because we were in a band together and I am new in this city, and she is from here, so for me to lose a friend here is a really big deal because I dont have alot of close connections. I tried to explain all this but she wont budge an inch. We are still ‘friends’ on facebook, and I was thinking of messaging her on there but I don’t know if there is any point, and I don’t want to be that guy who sends lots of unanswered messages. It’s just so difficult when you feel you are genuinely close to someone and they clearly don’t seem to care about you anymore or try to understand your situation. It still eats me up after all this time. Thankyou.

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