Apologizing and forgiving can be two of the most difficult actions for people to take. It requires a willingness to set down pride and let go of emotions such as anger or hurt. However, owning up to one’s mistakes and truly forgiving others can be the key to setting oneself free.
Author Kelly Browne’s new book, “101 Ways to Create Mindful Forgiveness: A Heart-Healing Guide to Forgiveness, Apologies, and Mindful Tools for Peace,” teaches readers how to embrace the acts of apologizing and forgiving. I asked her for her advice for people who struggle in this regard. Here’s what she said.
The Epoch Times: What inspired you to write “101 Ways to Create Mindful Forgiveness”?
Kelly Browne: About seven years ago, I was set to write a book about how to properly apologize. Despite my best efforts, I kept putting it down because something was missing—the crucial element of forgiveness. Not just “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you,” but the mindfully healing energy behind what it means to create forgiveness not just for others but for yourself.
It wasn’t until I had personally experienced excruciating trauma that made me physically sick that I suddenly understood how critical “mindful forgiveness” was for my own self-care. Sharing these heart-healing tools was so incredibly important to me to help other people who have endured events that have hurt them. Included in the book are tools, meditations, and prayers I learned, discovered, and embraced to support my journey to forgiveness.
The Epoch Times: Why do you believe the ability to forgive can be so difficult sometimes?
Ms. Browne: While many of us seek a quick-fix solution to our personal issues, when it comes to our feelings, they can’t simply be shut off like a switch. We may faithfully repeat the adage “forgive and forget,” but we can’t. Our parents and caregivers may encourage us to move on, insisting we say we’re sorry or get over it, and we don’t, especially if the apology was insincere. Every time that person or event crosses your mind, it brings you right back to that excruciating moment of pain.
Those traumatic thoughts can manifest in our bodies and become physical ailments that make us sick. The reality is—forgiveness isn’t condoning the harm that was committed against you nor releasing that person from blame, ever. Forgiveness doesn’t allow that person to continue to harm you or “push you around.” You can choose to forgive someone for your own self-care and physical health. You, and only you, can decide whether to discontinue a relationship with that person or continue it. Forgiveness is a choice that only you have the power to create in your heart and mind, in your own time, when you’re ready.
The Epoch Times: For someone reading this who is harboring resentment toward another, how do you recommend they begin to move toward forgiveness?
Ms. Browne: Holding on to bitterness and resentment over the way someone has harmed you only continues to hurt you. Why? Because the energy you’re creating in your body every time you think of that moment, event, or person has a negative physical effect on you, which has adverse effects.
Stop for a moment and think about how being mentally chained to an event is taking up your emotions. You may not even realize how these moments from the past are coloring your present, your fears, and your relationships with other people. Mindful forgiveness is your mental decision to consciously choose to disempower resentment by energetically releasing the incident from your thoughts, rendering it powerless, and moving toward inner peace for your happiness and healing.
The Epoch Times: On the other side of the coin, it can be equally as difficult to own up to one’s mistakes and apologize. What are some signs that one needs to apologize?
Ms. Browne: First and foremost, when you recognize you’ve made a mistake, immediately taking responsibility by apologizing for your thoughtless words or actions is key to repairing a relationship. What you say and do reflects the kind of person that you truly are. If you’re living your life with an awareness of being mindful or thoughtful in how you interact with others, you likely want to continue to learn how to be a better person across your personal and business relationships. It’s also important to have an awareness about the people you are choosing to have in your life on a day-to-day basis or circle of friends. If someone is continuing to create unnecessary drama or is consistently dishonest, you can choose to release them.
The Epoch Times: What are the best ways to apologize?
Ms. Browne: Expressed with the spirit of genuine sincerity, those three words—I am sorry—have the power to restore divided nations, heal the heart, or even save a life. Conversely, when a thoughtless word or act has caused endless pain and suffering for you or someone else, accepting an apology—I forgive you—is just as essential. While you can’t control the outcome of an apology, of whether someone will accept it or not, keeping in mind the Six R’s of apologizing from my new book, “101 Ways to Create Mindful Forgiveness,” is always a good method: realizing, remorse, reacting, responsibility, restitution, and resolution.
The Epoch Times: Modern communication increasingly occurs in a digital space. Is it ever appropriate to offer forgiveness or apologize via email or text?
Ms. Browne: Apologies and forgiveness are always best in person, video chat, or even by telephone when you can connect to the other person in real time and hear each other’s voices. As we embrace digital communication, especially in the business arena, emailed apologies are common and accepted. Between friends, family, and the people we love, texting has taken over as an instantaneous way to connect; however, you can’t feel the spirit of that person’s intention. While texting an apology or offering forgiveness may break the ice between you, following up with a call or meeting to clear the air is best so that you both may decide if you want to continue the relationship.
The Epoch Times: What are the greatest benefits of mastering the skills of apologizing and forgiving?
Ms. Browne: The greatest benefit of forgiveness is that it energetically releases the hurt feelings that no longer serve you. You have one life on this earth. Choosing to love yourself and being grateful for your health is the most essential. Let everything else go, release suffering to a higher source, or as my mother would say, “Put it in God’s hands.” Remember to breathe as you encounter difficult moments—your breath is your life force. Giving or accepting an apology never erases the past or changes the hurtful event, but it opens both parties to forgiveness, the possibility of restitution, and the healing ability to release those angry feelings so that you both may move forward in peace.