Uh-oh...treading on thin ice, I know. This is one of the most sensitive subjects that comes up when exploring communication. Ouch, it hurt...whether it was you or the other person. Hearts, egos, minds, repeated offenses...all these things fuel the fire of personal anguish. Like anything else, the voice of apology is the most healing tool in your shed and when used sincerely will change the course of any communication. Forgiving ourselves, one of the most important parts of personal evolution and development, depends upon us forgiving others too.
When a mistake (missed take) is made, it is very scary to apologize. The concerns that come up are, "Will the person accept my apology and dismiss me; will they use it as an opportunity to take advantage of the situation; will they forgive me." On the other side of the coin, if someone is coming to you, the hidden agendas of grudge and anger (especially when built over years of misunderstandings and non-acceptance) could implode and create walls that shut you off from this healing gift. Think of the families that have been torn apart because pride stopped an apology from being given.
To forgive, is to "give for." Forgiveness does not dismiss the wrong nor does it validate the offending person's action. Nor does it label you flawed or inadequate. We are human and will hurt someone and be hurt. It is called Life. Forgiving does not demand that you stay in active relationship with the person you are forgiving. All it does is make room in yourself for tolerance. I cannot say that I am an expert at this; there are events that I find intolerable and I pray every day not to be challenged on such a deep level. But for the everyday experiences of life, for the slight by a friend or a loved one, for the humanness that follows our Souls around like a shadow, forgiveness is the key to peace. It is the antidote for many of the ailments in today's society. There is a saying: "Fragrance is the forgiveness the violet sheds when stepped upon." Tough one, I know, but so important for all of us.