Excerpted from The Power of Apology: Healing Steps to Transform All Your Relationships by Beverly Engel (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001).
The Power of Apology Principle 7
Each person needs to come to forgiveness on his or her own, and not be pressured to forgive because it is the politically correct thing to do.
Forgiveness is not an easy process, as you've learned in the previous chapter. Even those who intellectually understand the importance of forgiveness, even those who have a strong spiritual belief in forgiving, cannot achieve it unless they are willing to acknowledge and express their anger, feel their pain, and confront the other obstacles that stand in their way of forgiving.
Even so, there comes a time when it becomes clear that forgiveness is the most sensible, humane, and healthy thing to do. It's time to forgive when:
• The other person has given you a meaningful apology, but your pride or your stubbornness keeps rising up inside you telling you that he or she didn't apologize well enough or isn't sorry enough or didn't take enough of the blame.
• You know deep in your heart that the wrongdoer is truly sorry, whether or not he or she has had the courage to apologize.
• You know deep in your heart that you were both to blame.
• Your anger and stubbornness are causing you physical or emotional pain.
• Your anger and distrust are in the way of your loving and trusting others in your life.
• An estrangement is clearly hurting you more than it is the other person.
• Either you or the wrongdoer is getting old or is gravely ill, you love him or her, and you may not have much more time together.