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How to Accept an Apology and Move On

Mrunal Belvalkar Mar 6, 2020
Sometimes 'forgive and forget' just seems easier said than done! Find out here how you can gracefully accept an apology from someone and not let it damage the relation you share with the person.
Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture taught me all I had to learn about apologizing to anyone. Pausch says there are three parts to a good apology - "I am sorry", "Its my fault", and "How do I make it right?" And no one could have put it better than he did. But sometimes we are on the other side of the table; and we are often not able to deal with the situation.
How do you react, how should you react when someone apologizes to you? This is something no one teaches us or talks to us about - but something that is as important as apologizing ourselves. From the wisdom gained from personal experience come the following words that will help you gracefully accept an apology and move on.

An Apology - What Does It Mean?

I sometimes feel that if man could really time-travel into the past, the word 'Sorry' would have no meaning.
If we were sorry about something we had said or done, we could easily go back in time and undo it. But even if we could undo our mistakes, there would be nothing we could do of the knowledge that we have actually hurt someone we care about.
An apology stems from feelings of embarrassment, sadness, being displeased, and more seriously from those of guilt, shame and regret. Our ego-ideals (and super-egos) play a role in making us feel all these things. But that is the science of it. What does an apology really imply?
An apology implies a deep sense of having wronged. An apology is what separates the aware from the unaware - for everybody makes mistakes, but only few realize, accept and make amends for their mistakes. But we fail to realize this when someone apologizes to us.
We are so pre-occupied with their mistakes that we fail to register in our minds their sincere efforts to make up for their mistakes.

A Grudge - Is It Worth It?

You could choose to not forgive a person and continue holding a grudge against him/her, but answer this; is it really worth it, holding a grudge against the person? Is it truly, absolutely, undeniably worth it? Even if a small voice in the back alleys of your mind whispers a weak little 'no', it isn't worth it.
We often stifle or suppress that 'no' with our ego, our self-respect, and our apparent sense of whose mistake it really was. What we do not realize is that in the process we wage a war within ourselves!
Every single day from the day you start holding a grudge, you get up and go about living your life with that war constantly waging in your mind, heart, brain, whatever you want to call it. Why?
I do understand that sometimes some people really mess you up, big time! But what you should realize is you have to forgive them not for their sake, but for your own! You should forgive them because YOU deserve a chance to live without the burden of carrying a chip on your shoulder.
Sometimes some of the things we hold a grudge about are not even that important - you even forget about them until someone or something reminds you of the incident. Something similar happened with me when I went through the pictures put up by one of my college friends on Facebook.
I had the chance to see all the people I had always held a grudge against. All the pain, all the hurt came back; but within seconds it was washed over by this immense feeling of tiredness. And that was when I realized what I had been doing all these years, and how utterly futile it was! I realized how expensive it is to hold a grudge!

A New Beginning - Why Not?

An apology coming your way gives you the chance to erase all that has happened and make a brand new start.
How many times in our lives do we wish we could get a second chance at things... then why not grab one when you get it? When you accept an apology, it does not mean you are okay with what the person did to you; it means you value the person more than his/her mistakes - and isn't that true? Can you not overlook one wrong thing your best friend did?
Of course you can! The fact that your friend, your husband, your children, your colleague is apologizing shows he/she is a sensible person who did not mean to hurt you, but ended up doing it unknowingly. Then why not give your relationship a second chance? Believe me, it is totally worth it!
Many a time people do not know the right way to make an apology. But still, their guilt does not let them rest. It puts them in agony. Then why not put such a person out of his/her misery? Why not accept their apology?
Sometimes people are not even willing to acknowledge their mistakes; then here is a person who has not only accepted it but is willing to do what it takes to make the hurt and pain and rawness go away... so why not let it go away?
When somebody apologizes to you, remember that no one in the entire world is perfect. Everyone, even the most righteous person, makes mistakes. Think about the times you were in a similar situation. How would you have felt if someone had not forgiven you, had not accepted your apology?
Accept the apology graciously. Do not point out fingers or lay down conditions. Do not make fun of the person, or ridicule him/her. People may appear clumsy or they may fumble. Take home the meaning and sincerity, not the words! Realize that the person is indeed regretting his/her deeds, and respect that. It is NOT AT ALL easy to apologize.
And finally, move on and do not mention the incident again. It is only going to make your relationship with the person more complicated and sour... and more often than not, it is absolutely pointless to trash away a beautiful relationship for the sake of a few wrong deeds and mistakes!