How to Know if an Apology is Real!

I hear a lot of people talk about reuniting and forgiving, giving another chance. They apologized. Said they won’t do it again. Then months later, it happens again.

Seems like as a society we are confused about what forgiving is and how to know if the apology was sincere. Just I’m sorry, might be loaded with an attempt to just get things back to normal. To take the heat off of their actions and move on. I’m sorry doesn’t always mean a sincere apology. It could very well be an empty apology to avoid responsibility.

Forgiving doesn’t mean going back as if it didn’t happen, it did happen. It doesn’t mean turning the other cheek so that you are open to it happening again. Forgiving means that you are letting go of the blame and anger for now and you’re doing it for yourself. To find peace with reality.

In my experience, forgiveness is about ‘resolve.’ It’s not saying what you did was ok, it’s not saying, you can do it again, and it doesn’t mean you will always forgive it if it happens again. It just means you, for now, are letting it go and moving on. It might mean you are taking them back and it might be you aren’t. Forgiveness isn’t static. Forgiveness isn’t black or white.

Through my own journey, I’ve had many lessons in accepting apologies and forgiving and then jumping back into the fire with them. Only to find out, there it is again. I had to learn that forgiveness isn’t the same as forgetting it happened. I also learned the hard way that just because I meant it when I was sorry and was genuinely making shifts and showing by action I meant it, others might not be.

Apologies are sincere, in my world, when I see actual remorse and emotion behind them. When I see that they actually get it. I look for the shifts in facial expressions, and body language too. Apologies are sincere when the action is showing up to back the apology. An apology is a process. It’s I’ll believe you now and we’ll see how it goes in the future.

Apologies are sincere to me when their energy is softer and more humble. When there is an openness around the situation and it can be discussed and maybe even discussed again.

When there is hardness and blame in the apology, it’s likely I won’t believe it is a true apology. When there is a stiffness in the tone and subject as if I’m the one with the problem, I don’t believe the apology.

As far as just hearing an “I’m sorry” or “it won’t happen again”, it’s not that easy. Not because I want to stir it up again, but because it’s ongoing.

Forgiveness is for me. I forgive when I do. That might be after an apology and it might be, that there was no apology. I don’t delude myself into believing it is for them. It doesn’t mean it is a one-and-done. It means for now that is what is happening. If it happens again, then it will need to be addressed again. It won’t be seen as a totally new event. It’s now a series of events.

If there is a need to hurry up and get past issues to get back to where it was prior to happening. That need is a need to avoid the uncomfortable. To skip by on important issues and hope they don’t happen again. There is not much accountability in that.

We’ve all experienced it where things shifted for a short time and then their behavior went right back to what it was. 

Watch your relationship for these flags when challenges show up.

  • Do you want to hurry up and get the conversation over with?

  • Do you feel awkward & strange after an apology?

  • Are you truly forgiving or are you just wanting to scoot by with a meaningless apology to get back to the good part of the relationship?

  • Are you truly growing as a couple from the experiences or are you growing apart?
  • Be present and look to find the sincerity in the words or the lack of sincerity
  • Watch for the shifts in each other or lack of shifts in energy, tone, and body language
  • Are your behaviors changing or are your partner’s behaviors changing for the better?

If for some reason, these flags show up or you’re feeling uneasy about them, ask your partner to talk with you about it again. If they do not want to hear what you have to say, then that is something you need to consider with seriousness.

If conscious relationships are of interest to you and you would like to investigate them, let’s chat. Get to know me session.

Photo by Yoann Boyer

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