Today is Global Forgiveness Day, which is perfect for me because I am approaching that sweet spot of being totally comfortable forgiving others and really, really good at forgetting anything that happened before lunch.
Forgiveness can be a tricky business, because oftentimes we wait to hear an apology before we grant forgiveness. The thing is, sometimes an apology never comes. In that case, it is up to you to do the forgiving as a one-man solo artist. Sometimes just saying the words I forgive you out loud, even to yourself, can have tremendous power. This is my go-to solution, considering small talk is my gig. But others have found solace in journaling, writing a letter that may or may not ever be sent, or talking to a friend or therapist.
Louis Zamperini, an American soldier captured in 1942 by the Japanese, carried the Olympic torch in 1998 through the villages of Japan to show his captors he had forgiven them for their actions. Pope John Paul II, shot in 1981, forgave the man who committed the crime. I’ve even forgiven my mother for making me wear homemade culottes to a school dance. See, we all have it in us.
If you do, in fact, get the gift of an apology and you are truly in a place to forgive, I suggest something simple and sincere like: Lisa, I appreciate your apology and I want you to know that I forgive you. I look forward to moving past this.
Wait – did you think that was the hard part? Nope. The hard part is not dragging out Lisa’s mistake in the days, weeks, and even years ahead. In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say, and don’t ever be mean. Resentment is not a torch to carry.