We all make mistakes because we're only human and when we do something wrong, we just want to try make it right and these steps to asking for forgiveness will not magic away the past but will be able to help you to mend the relationship and hopefully move forward. We all know that guilt can be debilitating but these steps to asking for forgiveness should help you on your way to moving on with your life.
Your first step is to think about exactly what you're sorry for. Think about what has happened but remember not to be too harsh on yourself. It's easy to wallow in self pity but remember that you want to make things right. Also, only apologize for something you truly feel responsible for rather than the fact that you know it will simply make your life that little bit easier. This is one of the first steps to asking for forgiveness.
2. Write It down
Your next step is to write it down. Apologizing can be frightening sometimes, but this process can help you to clarify your thoughts and feelings and calm you down a little, before you actually verbalize it. Planning it can be very cathartic too and help you to see things as they really are. You should try, where possible, to apologize face to face but if it's just that little bit too scary, perhaps writing an apology to that person would be better to begin with.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Sometimes it's good to practice what you're going to say before you say it. You don't want it to sound too rehearsed and robotic though and you're not auditioning for a part on the fictional show "Please Forgive Me". This will however, make you feel more confident and comfortable.
4. Excuses Excuses
Remember not to make excuses and to state clearly what it is you're apologizing for when you eventually do confront that person. Try not to make excuses by saying it was someone else's fault and don't get defensive as this will only make matters worse.
5. Share and Share Alike
Share your feelings about what happened without blaming someone else. Be clear and confident and give the other person time to sort their feelings out. Remember that they may not accept your apology straight away but don't be too disheartened by this and perhaps give them a little time.
6. Peace Offering
Perhaps you want to offer to make amends and 'start over'. Of course, you can't magically erase the past but sometimes, in relationships or friendships, these bumpy roads and potholes we encounter along the way can actually make the foundations stronger.
7. Move on
Once you have apologized, just let it go. Don't dwell or agonize over the past and what you have done because it's unhealthy, and is not good for your health or state of mind. The best thing to do is to just move on with your life and accept that they will either accept your apology or not. Sometimes people take a little time to forgive and to move on but most of the time, if they value the relationship, they will want to make amends as much as you do.
Asking for forgiveness can be liberating, whatever the reception. Has anyone else been in a situation where they have had to apologize and used similar steps?