An apology is a powerful thing, but accepting an apology is even more powerful.
You will doubtless find yourself in situations where someone is apologizing to you, and while you might want to acknowledge their apology, you want them to know that everything is not okay and that the apology doesn’t fix what is broken.
Most of us accept an apology with “it’s okay”, but sometimes it isn’t okay, and we deserve to give ourselves a little more respect than this.
Learning how to accept an apology without saying it’s okay is tricky, but it is an important skill to learn to ensure that you are not letting people off too easily and that you are giving yourself the respect you deserve to not write off any wrongs done to you without much thought.
We have listed different ways for you to accept an apology without sayings it’s okay, to help you through those tough situations.
How Do You Respond To Sorry When It’s Not Okay
It can take a lot of courage for someone to apologize for something that they have done, but this does not mean that you have to accept their apology and forgive them for their wrongdoings.
You might feel like what they have done is not worth your forgiveness, or that you aren’t ready yet to move on from what they have done, but you still want to acknowledge the step they have taken to apologize to you.
In these situations, it isn’t enough to just say “it’s okay”, and you need a response more fitting to let the person know that you have heard them out, but you have not accepted that everything is just okay.
Here are some ways to respond in this situation:
“I hear your apology, thank you”
This response shows that you have heard their apology, and you have listened to what they have had to say and that you appreciate them coming to you to apologize.
However, it is very non-committal and does not indicate that you have accepted their apology. Instead, it gives you time to think things over and decide whether or not you feel like forgiveness is what you are willing to give.
This is also a good response for when you feel skeptical of the apology, and you feel as though the person might not be very sincere. It does not show much emotion, but instead is a safe way to move on from the conversation without letting your guard down.
“I appreciate your apology”
Telling someone you appreciate their apology is a good way to show them that you do care and that them apologizing to you does mean something, but it is not ultimately granting them complete forgiveness for what they have done.
If their apology has made you quite emotional and you do not want to commit to response right there, this is a good response to have. It still shows that you are willing to think things through and you are willing to maybe engage in conversation down the line, but not right now.
It is also a good way to let the person know that you acknowledge how difficult it might have been for them to apologize and make themselves vulnerable to you. We all know how hard it can be to open yourself up for forgiveness, and appreciating someone for doing this is a step in the right direction.
It is a kind and caring response, without letting the person think that you have forgiven them straight away.
“I need time, but I accept your apology”
If you are not sure how you feel at the moment but know the time will come when you do forgive the person, this is a good response to use.
It shows empathy for the person apologizing and shows that you appreciate the apology and the vulnerability the other person might be feeling. However, it still buys you some time to think things over and really asses how you feel.
When it comes to forgiving someone, or saying that everything is okay, you need to feel confident in yourself. It cannot be something that is rushed, so giving yourself the time needed to heal and consider the situation is vital.
“I know apologizing isn’t easy, but we need to talk another time”
For when you just aren’t ready to hear an apology yet, and your emotions are still too real and you are still angry or hurt, you can give this as a response.
It does not brush the person off straight away, and it still shows you accept how hard it must have been for them to apologize, but you show that you are putting yourself first and taking the time you need to heal.
The worst thing you could do is speak to someone while your emotions are still raw, as oftentimes this could lead to a bigger fallout. You need time to process your emotions and how you feel, and if the person is really wanting to make things right between you, they will give you this time.
When you do say this, you do not have to commit to a time frame of when you will talk to them, but try to make an effort in the future to readdress the issue.
How To Accept An Apology With Grace But Set Boundaries At The Same Time
Apologies usually come with heavy emotions and hurt feelings. It can be difficult to put these aside and be graceful when someone approaches you to apologize.
While you should always try your best to accept an apology with grace (if you feel you are ready to), you should also use it as an opportunity to set boundaries going forward, or chances are that the same thing might end up happening again.
You can accept an apology with grace and set boundaries at the same time, and here is how.
Give the person the respect of you listening to them apologizing. Even if you aren’t completely ready to hear them say the words “I am sorry”, appreciate that it is probably difficult for them to apologize, and let them speak their peace.
Avoid interrupting or correcting them as they apologize. If there is anything you want to say, save it for when they are finished speaking. You will have time to say your bit once they are done and giving them the respect of listening to what they say shows maturity.
Decide How To Move Forward
You will need to decide whether or not you will be accepting their apology. You don’t even have to make this decision there.
Take your time to decide whether or not you forgive them. You are never obligated to accept an apology, so don’t feel pressured to doing so.
Make sure that the person acknowledges the pain they may have caused you, and that they were not trying to make excuses for their behavior in their apology.
You could always point out how you feel to them, as they might not fully understand how their actions impacted you.
Don’t Skip Back To Normal
Not everything is fixed by an apology. They have to put in the work necessary to make it up to you, or to avoid having the same situations happen again.
Do not be tempted to go back to life the way it was before they hurt you, because things don’t change if things don’t change!
Give yourself the grace and respect to not fall back into bad habits, and let them know that you will not be accepting previous behavior moving on.
They need to know that you are serious about protecting yourself from being hurt again, and you need to know that as well.
Accept Or Do Not Accept
Once you feel ready, you should let them know how you feel. Accepting their apology, if it is right in the situation, will help both of you move forward, but just make sure you are ready to do so.
Let them know that you accept their apology, and whether or not you can offer some forgiveness yet. You are not obliged to do anything, and don’t let them pressure you to do so.
Set Your Boundaries
When you let them know that you have accepted their apology, you should also let them know what your boundaries are going to be moving forward.
Take your time to work out what you want your relationship to be like in the future, and what boundaries and actions can be put in place to ensure this.
They can either accept these boundaries or not, that is completely up to them, as long as you hold yourself in high enough regard to know that you are worth more and that you will be moving on if they choose not to keep within the boundaries you set.
Keep a check on how they act, and remind them of these boundaries if you notice any negative behavior happening. You owe it to yourself to only keep positive influences in your life!
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