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By David Morgan, inspired by All One

Rough Draft - Last changed 4 days ago.

Making Amends

When you make a mistake and harm someone, emotionally, physically, or monetarily; making an amends is often the best solution.

12 Step programs such as AA, as well as lots of other resources including the Bible talk about making amends. Dictionary.com says "to compensate, as for an injury, loss, or insult" and "reparation or compensation for a loss, damage, or injury of any kind; recompense."

Two of AA's 12 Steps that are directly applicable to the issue of harming someone say: 

  1. "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves," This is to evaluate what mistakes you have made.
  2. And then another step says: "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

Saying you're sorry to the person you have harmed is a good start, but also making amends, whenever possible clearly is the best way to release your guilt, since you are making a "best effort" to correct your mistake. It also is the most effective solution for both parties.

(Note: In a simple example to help you understand what it means to make an amends, say you physically damaged their car. An amends should start by paying for the repairs. Saying your sorry doesn't pay the bills. Making an emotional amends follows the same principals.

12 Step programs say "think about what you did wrong" and then "repair the damage." They define a clear plan of action. There is a slogan in 12 Step Programs, and that is that "the program works if you work it." Making amends is the loving action that will release you from your guilt. You will heal both parties reopening the option for living a positive life and achieving Authentic Happiness.

Most professionals say that if you have harmed someone either emotionally, physically, or financially, in most cases, making amends is the best solution to releasing guilt, since it may be the only way to re-balance the scales of "fairness" between the two people.

When you think about this, making amends is really is very similar to what happens if someone goes to court in the American judicial system. The court may have a trial where both parties have the opportunity to "tell their side of the story", and then the court decides if anyone is found guilty. The court then generally charges the guilty party with some kind of "fine." The court's job is to attempt to balance the scale of fairness, and this is believed to be the best resolution for both parties.

The truth is we are human, and humans make mistakes.

So what I invite you to do is to think about this:

Isn't the true value in making amends to another person

the gift of healing both parties?

When I was very young, I was at my grandparents' home. I played with a toy that was on a shelf for display, and I broke the toy. Not long after, my grandmother asked me to walk with her to the washroom. She asked me if I had broken the toy. I felt horrible. My grandmother was an amazing, nice, and very loving grandmother. My initial reaction was to say I didn't do it, because I had been taught by others (but not her) that mistakes should be punished, and that could also include shame. I then felt so much worse! How could I lie to my loving grandmother? After a few seconds, she asked me again, and I admitted my mistake. She then took a bar of soap, and told me to wash my mouth out with soap. I did that, and that was the end of the issue. She did not appear mad, and she never said anything about it ever again. Today I still remember how I felt so much better after admitting my mistake. That process was very effective in releasing my guilt, and taught me several lessons.

Negativity, such as guilt, has been scientifically shown to cause health issues that will reduce your lifespan. So guilt does have a cost. How much does guilt cost, not in dollars, but in health and happiness?

Resolving an issue benefits both parties, and if the other party is a friendship, a family member, or a loved one; think of the value of rekindling that relationship. Don't forget, life is too short to allow issues result in long term guilt; or to lose a previously good relationship! How do you want to live your life?

See also:

Thank YOU for reading this!

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This page updated 06/19/18 03:32 PM