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Letting Yourself Off The Hook

So you made a mistake, and your friend is angry at you. The first step is, obviously, to apologize. However, what if he doesn’t forgive you? Moving on is the next big step to tackle, but this is easier said than done.

Assuming that you accept responsibility for what you did wrong, it can be difficult to let this go. You can recycle thinking that makes you feel horrible about what happened. These thoughts can be destructive, such as “What if I lost my friend over this?” Or thinking “I shouldn’t have done that” can lead you to obsess over things that you wish you would’ve done differently. This doesn’t help you or your friend move on past such an issue.

Rather than utilizing a time machine that doesn’t exist, it is best to accept your fate and decisions. The following may help you move on as well as allow yourself to heal from the situation.
1. What have you learned from the situation? Determine what you would do differently should a similar situation happen. Recognize that you will become a better communicator and friend now that you understand this.
2. What can you do to rectify the situation? If your friend is mad at you, ask to see what you could do to help make it easier to deal with. If nothing, then you need to focus on yourself.
3. If you apologized, you have done your part. Make sure that your apology doesn’t deflect any of your responsibility, but it is the responsibility of the other person to accept it. He may not accept it, but keep in mind that you showed your character by trying to make amends.
4. Destroy the time machine. You cannot go back in time and change things that you said or did. There is only the present and the past is useless to change. With time, your friend may come around to realize that your apology was genuine. Until then, revisit number “1″.

It can be difficult to let yourself off the hook for something that you feel guilty about. This is especially challenging if the person you apologize to is unwilling to accept your apology. Remember that no one is perfect, and there are always lessons to learn from your mistakes. And most importantly of all, you can’t control how others respond. You can only control your response. Focus on that, and in time you’ll feel better, and your friend might come around as well.

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