The If, Why & How of Making Amendsby Kinga Lewandowska
The more the merrier, the popular saying goes. Yet, whenever a group of people gathers around a table, whether it’s a family by blood or a chosen family of friends or colleagues, the energy in the room shifts. Everyone brings their own emotions, moods, experiences, expectations, beliefs, values, opinions, love languages, support languages, and attachment styles to the conversation.
Needless to say, so many variables may raise the temperature of the air very quickly. A hurtful word, a misunderstanding, a sneer, or a frown – sometimes it takes a split second to break bonds between us and our loved ones. The question is, what do we do once the damage is done?
Reconciliation is a process in which the very first step is deciding whether a particular relationship is worth saving or not. We are the sum total of the five people we spend the most time with and we need to choose our companions wisely. It’s simply impossible to be friends with everyone and the truth of the matter is, not every person we encounter on our path wishes us well. Hence, there will always be someone it would be best for us to avoid.
There are toxic individuals out there who want to see us in despair, who feed off the suffering of another human being. And that’s ok – the balance in nature has to be preserved so that we can appreciate and love all the kind-hearted souls in our lives even more. Yet, we need to consider the possibility that for our own good, it might be time to go our separate ways with those with whom we quarreled. Some relationships should stay in the past. Learn from them and move on.
Patching things up with family and friends is usually at least worth a try, yet you need to listen to your heart and consider the implications this potential reconciliation might have on your mental health further down the road. Sometimes the rip in the fabric of a relationship is there for a reason. Reach out to the other person when you believe making amends with them will prove healing in the end.
If you decide to repair a bond from the past, think about your reasons for doing it. Is it for financial gain? Or to please somebody? Are you feeling lonely? Or, perhaps, it’s finally time for some peace of mind? The why behind our actions determine our success or failure. Noble reasons lead to pure and strengthened relations, dishonorable intentions lead to more pain for both sides of the conflict.
Pro tip: search your heart for the motivation to forgive. Even if you never manage to reconcile with the one who hurt you, forgiveness will ultimately heal your wounds. It will help you cool down negative emotions, better understand the other person’s position, and disassemble the prison the feud might have built around your heart. Forgiveness is self-love and the best why you can opt for.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of making amends – how do we go about sewing up the rip? Well, there’s obviously no one way to do so and the whole process is a complex one. This is why you need to start at the very beginning – look within.
Put your guard down, remain open-minded, and evaluate your own actions with a critical eye. Maybe who you need to forgive is yourself? Whether you like it or not, there’s a chance that during an argument you were the one in the wrong. Maybe you were hearing the other person but not really listening? Maybe your emotional intelligence needs improving? Nobody’s perfect, we all make mistakes, and if you own yours, it will be easier for the other party to soften up and direct their heart towards reconciliation.
Also, never underestimate the power of an authentic, deliberate, and heartfelt apology. It can mend the most ruptured relationships. It’s never too late to say sorry and there are various ways to do so, although an emoji or a one-word text message will not do the trick. You need to really lean into it. If you’re not ready to apologize in person, consider writing an honest letter in which you will demonstrate that you understand where you were wrong, that you’re able to take responsibility, and that you’re willing to work on the parts of yourself that have yet to know better.
Last but not least, when the moment of reconciliation comes, you need to be ready to be vulnerable. In order to heal broken bonds you will have to open your heart to painful truths. Most likely, it will also take more than one conversation to rebuild burnt bridges. Quality time is the answer and we can actually help you harness its power. Use our new Let’s Get Closer games as a tool to reconnect with the other person. The questions on the cards will spark deeper and more meaningful dialogue very much needed for embracing reconciliation wholeheartedly.
Water Under The Bridge
Making amends is a learning curve. No matter if you let bygones be bygones, if reconciliation is possible and ultimately successful or not, you will discover a lot along the way. New truths about yourself and the healing power of forgiveness are only examples of the kind of insights you’ll gain in choosing whether or not to face the ghosts from your past. Either way, the entirety of this experience will enable you to better nurture your existing relationships and build stronger ones in the future.