Sometimes disagreements can get out of control, and words and actions can cause a great deal of harm. What can you do when you have said or done things you regret? Is there any hope? In this article we will discuss some steps to take in making amends, when you have been dead wrong or wronged someone.
Before you begin the process of making amends, take a step back and look at the situation. Talk it over with a trusted friend, your counselor or life coach, to be sure you are wrong. Very often, we accept an awful lot of guilt when it is not necessarily warranted. After you have examined the situation thoroughly and determined you are at fault, begin steps to set things right.
Look at your errors and determine the consequences. Think about how your own error in judgement has affected the other person. (Empathy boy what a lost concept) In a society where we are brainwashed in to believing: (The fillings of others are of no consequence, the only thing of any importance is how I feel is the norm).
We have become so narcissistic and desensitized to the feelings of others in our thinking processes these days, I guess empathy would be a completely foreign concept to “SOME” at first, as it goes against everything most of us have been taught as of late. You know it’s all about Selfies, I Phone, I Hop, and My Space (as antiquated as it may be). All of which has added to the collective psyche of the now most favorite radio station: “W.I.I.F.M” (What’s In It For Me).
Why is the word SOME in all caps you ask? It has been my experience that when someone makes a statement, that seemingly attacks or challenge a belief system, there are a small percentage of people who automatically go on the defensive, declaring that the previous does not apply to them. Therefore, the word some has to be emphasized as the word is often overlooked. (But I digress).
If you want to go even deeper you may want to get a handle on how the disagreement may affect even far reaching and innocent victims such as children. I have seen disagreement affect entire families. (Somehow Romeo and Juliet scenario comes to mind).
It is important that we place and emphasis on understanding how the person will be affected. In this way, we will be more likely to formulate a solution that will truly address the challenge.
Here are some strategies that may be helpful:
1. Present a sincere apology that makes it clear to the other person that you do understand the magnitude of your actions. Tell the person that you understand what has happened or may happen because of your words and/or deeds. Express the importance of setting things right and repairing your relationship.
2. Be careful not to make excuses. If you are truly at fault, accept responsibility for your actions and make it clear that you understand where the responsibility lies. If there are contributing factors, you may need to explore them to provide an explanation for your behavior, but do not lay blame if the responsibility rests with you.
3. Offer realistic guarantees regarding your future behavior. If at all possible reframe from using the outdated and caned response of: “It will never happen again” (That statement is probably not true). Say what you will do instead. Think about it first and make certain that it is an easy to implement strategy, in regards to how you will handle a similar situation in future.
If you have truly taken steps to empathize with the person, you may have some good ideas of ways to repair and strengthen your relationship. I would like to add (for the sake of this article) if you have been having more disagreements with people lately or you find that you are argumentative by nature. It may well be time for you to do a little introspection, to find the source of your need to be right.
When making amends there are things that should be done other than buying presents or offering other items that may be considered a bribe. Instead, think about ways you can engage the other person that will build trust and instill faith in the sincerity of your desire to make things right.
Somehow a written apology works magic in situations of discord. Perhaps it has something to do with the occurrence, of what happens when a person reads and hear a voice they know and trust. (Their own).
Reflect on your disagreements and try to identify contributing factors. For example, exhaustion, overwork, stress, excessive alcohol consumption and other factors may have contributed to your disharmony with other human beings.
If some of the above mentioned scenario seem to be the case, take necessary steps to deal with these challenges, so that you will not find yourself in a position of having to try to make amends for the same errors in judgement over and over again.
Realize that the other person may not forgive you and may not wish to continue their association with you. This may seem unfair, and it may actually be unfair, but you have to respect the wishes of the other person.
In the case of an unaccepted apology, be sure to bridle you tongue. Leave room for the relationship to resume at a later date by parting on a positive note. In this way, you will know that you have done everything possible, and you can resume your life without the burden of guilt.