Even though the harm may be the same, we’re much more likely to move on from an acknowledged accidental mistake.
Is it because we know that we’ve made honest mistakes ourselves, and the act of forgiving the other person is a way of forgiving ourselves? Or is it because it feels more random and less personal to be impacted by something that was a mistake?
Or perhaps, there’s some sort of reparation when the other person apologizes and works to improve… as if our suffering made a contribution for others who will follow.
In a third situation, a random accident, where there isn’t a perpetrator, it seems as though we’re the most likely to move on. If the cause is a fellow human, somehow we process misfortune differently. The intention is a double injury.
And yet, after the incident, when each of us is faced with the chance to acknowledge that we made an honest mistake, we often compound the problem and turn it into something more like an intentional act, simply because we’ve been taught to avoid taking personal responsibility.