How to Artfully and Graciously Forgive

When was the last time someone asked you for forgiveness?  I had someone ask me today to forgive them.  Now, I do spend a lot of time with people who are aware and realize quickly when they may have stepped out of line, so it is pretty common for me to hear someone speak humbly and candidly about some wayward remark or behavior.  Let me be clear: the road to becoming aware is a journey.  I suppose some people are born with a natural humility, but many people that I know earn their humility through a spiritual or growth oriented path.  Often that path is sought out of a desperate desire for connection or to have a better life.

What are some of the things that we can do when someone apologizes or asks for forgiveness?

The first thing I do is to LISTEN and let them say exactly what needs to be said without interruption.

Second is acknowledge and appreciate. It takes courage to apologize.  The ego has us thinking that the world might end or worse if we apologize. Acknowledging the triumph over the ego is also a great way for us to turn our attention from bitterness into gracefulness.  When we can let go of our bitterness, we do ourselves much more good than the person we forgive.

Third, let it go.  With a heart full of appreciation that your person has seen their foibles, you can release that person knowing that you may have just been a bit of collateral damage in their bigger lesson of life.

If asked, you can tell them how the whole process was for you.  You will want to continue down the solution path.  You may need to let them know how it effected you, however, if you can access the belief that there is a bigger purpose, you may find it unnecessary to drudge any of that up.  Sometimes, I need to drudge a little to release the most effectively.  When I do, I convey my emotions without acting on them.  Using my words, I can express the emotions and avoid further damage.


One Response to “How to Artfully and Graciously Forgive”
  1. Leah Oviedo says:

    Good article Sarah. I think it really depends on the situation. I always ask myself 3 questions.
    How has this persons action affected me?
    Is it worth holding onto the anger or humiliation?
    Can I let it go?

    Most of the time I can forgive and move forward, because life is really short and I don’t want to hang onto negativity.

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