You’re bound to screw up in life at one point or another, and your senseless decision will involve hurting someone important to you.
Whether it be to a friend, relative, or significant other, the mistake you made will grapple at your mind and soul and you may feel tormented by guilt (assuming you’re not a sociopath). Allow this to happen. When you hurt someone you care about, it’s inevitable that you’ll be consumed with regret and sadness. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and to convey all of your emotions.
Allow yourself to feel everything.
Feel everything until eventually you feel nothing at all.
I think when we make a mistake, we carry a tank filled to the brim with guilt and remorse. Each time we apologize and repent, we release a little bit from the tank, slowly but surely, until it’s finally empty. There’s no definitive time period for each person to fully deplete the tank; each person will need their own respective time span. While you’re in this process, allow the one you’ve hurt to witness your remorse. From my experience, if the people you hurt don’t see how contrite you are, they’ll be hesitant to forgive you.
You’ll know when the tank is finally empty. When you look back on your mistake, you’ll recognize that your actions were wrong, but you won’t feel gut-wrenching pain each time you reminisce back. Learn from your mistakes but don’t torture yourself. Allow yourself to become numb to it all. If your tank is finally empty and the person you hurt is unhappy to see this, don’t feel compelled to refill it just to satisfy the other person’s vengeful need to watch you suffer.
If you’ve done all you can to mend the situation with the one you’ve hurt and yet they still don’t forgive you, let it go.
Do all you can to reconcile with the one you hurt, but if this person refuses to release the grudge they’re holding, move on. You could send a million and one apologies and it still won’t be enough in their eyes. This isn’t a reason for you to remain unhappy with yourself.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about waiting for the other person to forgive you. It’s about forgiving yourself.