Can Forgiveness Happen Without an Apology?
All of us have been hurt by someone at some time, intentionally or accidentally, and most likely, that someone apologized to us. But what if an apology never comes? What if you were so hurt - physically, mentally or emotionally - and you never hear, "I am sorry"? Then what? How is that to be handled? Is it best to hold on to the negative emotions and let them fester through more negativity and resentment?
I think not.
Based on my experiences in life - both personally and professionally - I believe it is best to forgive even when you have not heard the words, "I am sorry." And why is that? Because I believe that holding on to the negative feelings will only hurt YOU.
Holding onto negative feelings is akin to walking around with a backpack full of heavy boulders - it weighs you down. The longer you carry them, the heavier they get, and the more exhausting it becomes. Your exhaustion starts to show in your daily life. The weight of hate and resentment may start to seep out into your life, through your actions towards others, towards yourself and even how you physically look.
The path of healing is through love and forgiveness and not holding onto to negativity. I am blessed to have not had a horrific tragedy happen to me or someone I love, so I truly cannot imagine how victims of crime forgive. But there are so many that do and what an inspiration that is!
As for how I have handled forgiveness when I did not hear the actual apology, I have come to realize and to lovingly accept that the other person was doing the best they knew at that time. This does not excuse the behavior; it is simply a way that has helped me to forgive and move on with my life. Life can be so hard and it is not meant to be - I am not sure why any of us would want to make it more difficult by holding on to resentment and negativity.
Learn to Forgive. Learn to Love. In the end - it really is all about YOU and living your life in a way that is happy and fulfilling. Why give someone else control over your life?