Are You Waiting for an Apology Before You Forgive?

In this series of posts about forgiveness, we need to address the issue of apology. Many people think they are ready to forgive, but want an apology first. “Why should I forgive the people who wronged me?” they think. “They should come to me first. They should admit they’re wrong. They should say they are sorry and really mean it. Then I’ll consider forgiveness.”

Does that inner dialogue sound familiar? Take a look—is it possible that you do feel this way, but didn’t realize it? Self-reflection is a necessary part of this process of healing. Check it out for yourself, because no one else can tell you the answer to these questions.

Every moment is alive and teaching us to trust. This moment embraces us and welcomes us to let go, forgive our fears, and trust in life itself. ~ Ana Holub, Forgive and Be Free: A Step-by-Step Guide to Release, Healing and Higher Consciousness

Conflict Affects Everyone

We live in a complex world, where conflicts happen every day. Some are mild and easily overlooked or fixed, but others span generations’ worth of culture, gender and memory. These conflicts are deeply rooted in the depths of our collective, subconscious mind.

At the very bottom of all the complicated layers is the illusion of separation—from God, from our true nature, from Love. We are not, in fact, separate from our Source. But we live in a world where the fallacy of being separate is drilled into us from the moment we arrive.

Thinking that we are separate and alone, with no help or comfort, affects us on a profound level. Even people who seem to be relatively happy have their doubts (and the misery that comes with it) at times. The only way out of this mess is to reconnect with our Higher Power, and we can do this through forgiveness.

But first, we need understand the mechanism of separation: the ego. The ego wants an apology, because this is the part of our mind that wants to keep the illusion of separation alive. So if our ego gets an apology, it can think, “Haha! I was right and you, guilty opponent, were wrong! I can keep my separation from you intact. Onward to the next conflict where I can demand another apology.”

Fortunately, there is another way.

Waiting for an apology: Pros and Cons

On a human level, we need to get along with each other, and apologies can be helpful tools to ease conflict. Giving and receiving a sincere apology is supportive to peacemaking and smooths the way toward reconciliation. Yet keep in mind that apology only benefits us on the Earthly plane. If we spend our time waiting for an apology before forgiving, we will derail our spiritual awakening.

If you can’t seem to move ahead with your forgiveness process, check out this list of reasons why waiting for an apology is a bad idea:

  1. The other person may not know that you feel offended. For this reason, s/he may never apologize.
  2. The other person may be waiting for an apology from you. You’re both in a stand-off that may never be resolved.
  3. The other person is far away, can’t be reached, doesn’t know how to contact you, or is dead. The chances of connecting physically are very low indeed.
  4. The other person already apologized, but you didn’t like the apology. It wasn’t sincere enough, thorough enough, or not good enough for you in some way. You are probably not going to get another one.

As you can see from this list, waiting for an apology from another person puts the initiative and the power in his or her hands—not yours. By waiting for an apology, you give yourself a handy excuse for avoiding your own inner work. You give your precious spiritual awakening away to someone else’s whims, timetable, understanding, and desires.

This is why taking initiative for healing on your own terms is so essential. It wakes you up and stretches you into deeper, vaster love, whenever you are ready to make this bold move into the center of your heart.

Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. ~ Martin Luther King. Jr. (Tweet this)

Don’t Wait – Take the Plunge into More Love

We are eternal beings of light having a temporary human experience, so what are we waiting for? Why not live in joy and peace now? You can start your forgiveness practice any time, day or night, today or next year . . . or next lifetime. But since forgiveness brings you inner peace and deeper compassion for yourself and others, why hold on a moment longer?

Letting go opens up channels of sacred wisdom and intuition within you. Release the past, no matter what your feelings of pride tell you. There’s so much more to life. Dive in!

Follow our FORGIVENESS series here . . .

1.  Forgiveness – Your Path to Inner Freedom
2.  4 Common Blocks to Forgiving Someone
3. 13 Health Benefits of Forgiveness
4. How to Forgive Someone Even When It Feels Practically Impossible
5. Are You Waiting for an Apology Before You Forgive? (this article)
6. Are you Ready to Forgive?

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About the Author

Ana Holub, MA is a forgiveness counselor and peace educator based in Mount Shasta, CA. Her latest book is called Forgive and Be Free: A Step-by-Step Guide to Release, Healing and Higher Consciousness. For more information visit

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