Remorse, Self-Forgiveness and the Perfect Apology
According to wikipedia, forgiveness is the mental and/or spiritual
process of moving past feelings of resentment or anger against another
person for some mistake they've made, or ceasing to demand some form of
restitution or compensation.
We at Perfect Apology are agnostic about when and under what conditions
people should accept an apology or forgive those responsible for hurting
themwe certainly know how you should craft an apology to increase your
chances of being forgiven, but we can't tell you when to accept an apology.
These are very personal decisions that are never really open to useful
advice or guidance.
For whatever reason, and despite delivering the perfect apology, some people
are simply not prepared to forgive. But this fact should have no bearing
whatsoever on whether one should take the time to craft a perfect apology.
There are other reasons perfect apologies can help when working through a
For example, we often feel compelled to apologize when we humiliated someone
else, but occasionally we need to apologize to those we hurt because we are
humiliated by what we've done. Remorseful and humiliating errors produce
uncomfortable feelings and personal doubts about who we are. They create
negative images that directly contradict the primarily positive impressions
we have of ourselves. Serious mistakes that elicit strong feelings of
remorse force us not only to question our own character but also raise
doubts about whether we actually deserve to be forgiven in the first place.
Self-forgivenessthe process of accepting the inevitability of mistakes
by refusing to let them define usis an important first step, and a
perfect apology can go a long way toward helping us deal with these personal
crises. In fact, successful apologies occur most frequently when we first
forgive ourselves for the mistakes we've made.
Regardless of whether we are forgiven by others for our mistakes, therefore,
the act of apologizingof taking the time to craft an apology and
suffering the consequences of delivering itwill help to re-establish a
positive self image. That's why it's so important to take the time to do it
right, because partial apologies will compound the crisis when they fail.
Short cuts lead to failures that often make things worse; they do very
little to resolve the crisis and even less to improve your own self image or
the image others have of you.
On the other hand, a perfect apology that works will go a long way toward
generating the positive feedback we need to manage our personal crises and
related feelings of remorse and humiliation. If people we hurt are prepared
to forgive us by accepting the apology and moving past our mistake, the
message they're sending is that they value the relationship and respect your
The point here is that whether or not an apology works, taking the time to
do it right by making sure your message includes ALL of the
ingredients of a
perfect apology will pay off in the end. It's worth the investment.
Read our selection of forgiveness
Or, return to Regret and Remorse