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October 14, 2016

The (Two) Best Phrases You Can Say

“Please forgive me.” / “I forgive you.”

Today we reveal the very best phrase we humans can say to one another, if we wish to create the peace and happiness we all crave, both within ourselves and among others.

And…it’s a tie. The phrases are interrelated, of course, but they are also two distinct expressions.

First, “please forgive me.”

I don’t want you to excuse my behavior, tell me it’s okay, and otherwise soothe the awkwardness between us because of my behavior. I want you to please consider my actions, hold me accountable for what I’ve done to you, and bravely choose to forgive me.

I know this is a lot to ask. I know my behavior was careless, or reckless, or downright cruel. I can tell you a number of reasons I did this, and those reasons might help explain why I chose to do what I did. But none of those reasons, or context, can excuse my behavior (see yesterday’s Pause).

I am truly sorrowful for what I’ve done, and I know I’m asking a lot. You may not want to talk about this, or even see me ever again. I understand. I would like you to simply know how sorry I am, and I ask you to consider how you can forgive me.

Second, “I forgive you.” (This phrase does not have to follow the other. It can come years later, or it can even precede it. We can forgive someone before they ask for it, or even if they never ask for it.)

I want you to know what you did to me, I want you to know how I see it, and how it impacted me. Your behavior was painful, and it has changed our relationship forever. I am not exactly sure what our relationship will look like in the future, but I want you to know I forgive you. I promise to do my best to no longer hold this particular offense against you. This will be hard, and I’m sure I won’t do it perfectly—I may in fact, in my weakness, let it burn into a resentment, and then I’ll have to ask you to forgive me.

You wronged me in these specific ways, it has hurt me in these specific ways, and it has changed our relationship in these specific ways. And with all that stated, I forgive you, and because I do, I will not even bring it up after this, unless you would like to.

These are all big, expressive words to convey these truthful phrases. It doesn’t have to look exactly like this. Perhaps it’s best like this:

“Dude, that was so uncool.”

“Yeah man, I’m sorry ‘bout that. My bad.”

“Well, don’t do it again, okay?”

“Promise. We cool?”

“Yep. We cool.”

Peace begins with pause,

2 thoughts on “The (Two) Best Phrases You Can Say

  1. I don’t agree entirely. Just because you forgive someone does not mean that you don’t ever bring it up again. For example, my emotionally abusive ex-husband would accuse me of the very things he himself was doing. He would scream at me that I was the one who emotionally abused him. He would say the only time he ever got upset was when I verbally/emotionally attacked him (I would ask for examples and he would twist and manipulate the situations- I had never felt so confused in all my life and now, after reading about emotionally abusive behavior, I can identify the control tactics he was using). I would then bring up an example (only one of many)of when he became enraged without my having been upset and he would then scream at me that I didn’t know how to forgive. If I truly forgave him I wouldn’t have brought it up. He then would say I didn’t know how to love and that I had no “patience, grace, or understanding.”
    When reading Lundy Bancroft’s book, my jaw would continually drop as it was like Mr. Bancroft new my husband better than anyone – down to the EXACT words and phrases.

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