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Dispute resolution often involves one party “apologizing” and another “forgiving.”  These terms are often misused and/or misunderstood.   This prominent UCLA psychiatrist offers what I believe to be a fairly good overview of what the varying meaning of these terms are and you can see it below.  It is not exactly how I define these terms but it is fairly close and it is a very well done video of just five minutes.


The important part to understand about these terms is that they mean different things to different people and the circumstances upon which these terms are offered and accepted also matter.  My experience as an attorney, as a mediator, and as a human being is that an apology and the subsequent forgiveness can be powerful tools to bring a dispute — any kind of dispute — to a conclusion.  On occasion, they may even bring about reconciliation.

As I stated in another post, I don’t believe in giving forgiveness without an apology although there are some who do believe in this, if for no other reason, to allow the victim to get on with his or her life.  I have an issue with that approach, because it lets the wrongdoer off the hook without accepting responsibility, but each party has to employ what he or she thinks is best given the totality of the circumstances.

If I can assist you in resolving a dispute, please feel free to get in contact with me.  If you have a few simple question, please call or email.  I am happy to talk, at least briefly, to assist you and I am also happy to respond to your emails.   Thank you.