• Sarah M.

Making Amends

Are we bad people - or simply human beings learning how to make better choices?

Learning to apologize with genuine grace is something everyone should do. We’ve all crossed a line at one point or another with our actions, words or behaviors. Be it by unnecessarily hurting another person, or inadvertently made a mistake that requires an apology.


Apologies help establish renewed trust between people by creating a path to better communication. And an authentic apology has these two primary points:

  • remorse regarding the situation.

  • acknowledgement that the situation caused someone else to feel hurt.

By taking on the responsibility to sincerely apologize, you continue to build self-confidence and reinforce personal integrity.


But maybe you have trouble apologizing. You’re not alone.

It takes courage to not only admit a wrongful behavior or action, but also face the fact that someone else suffered consequences as a result.


There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for making amends to people you’ve harmed. But through a few of these simple steps you can move towards a better connection with those you want and need to make amends with.


Admit your mistake

Accept responsibility for what you are actually responsible for. Everyone has made mistakes, but the only mistakes that will undermine your happiness are the ones you’re unwilling to admit.


Ask for forgiveness

In order for an apology to be effective, it must be genuine and go to the heart of the matter for the person you wronged. Consider carefully what you’re going to say. Be accountable -don’t make excuses or deflect blame.


Rectify the wrong

Whether you’ve robbed someone of time, money, property, trust, attention, dignity, or well-being, it’s important to do what you can to restore that which you’ve taken.


Changed behavior

Work towards regaining trust. Changed behavior demonstrates true commitment and the healing can truly start.


Important side note: If someone is making amends to you, let them. Be generous and be gracious. Focus on moving forward.


It may be difficult to accept that you’re not always going to be able to make amends to people who you’ve wronged. While you may be willing to try, they may not.

Regardless, you’ll have to come to terms with this, acknowledge any wrongdoing - even if it’s a private entry in your journal - then adjust your behavior or action for the future, to not repeat these actions. Not only will this add to your wellbeing, it will allow you to grow from your mistakes and help you let go of the guilt you may be carrying.


Yes, it takes courage to make a sincere amends. But taking action has the potential to make a positive impact on you too.


Benefits of Making an Amends

  • You experience a sense of emotional relief.

  • You feel good about yourself for having the courage to face it.

  • It repairs the relationship and can restore trust.

  • It gives you a sense of resolution to an unfinished situation.

  • Handling old hurts this way decreases worry and stress.

  • It allows you too to experience joy and happiness in life.


Every person travels differently, with unique experiences and opportunities. But you will be amazed how good a clean the slate feels like by making amends. Remember to be gentle with yourself throughout the process. It's a learning curve and when you are sincere it will show.


Is it hard for you to apologize and make amends? Is it difficult for you to differentiate between fake and real apologies? What is your experience? Feel free to share your thoughts or in your personal journal.

 

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