Are You Only Making Amends To Check It Off Your List?
One reader reports his experience, “I must admit I often find making amends difficult. When I have come straight out of inquiry, the need and intention to make amends is so clear. But the moment is often lost – sometimes in a very short space of time – and often the act of writing a letter, or calling to making an apology, ends up on a to-do list.
“Once that happens, making amends seems like a chore. And because the original spark or insight has faded, it doesn’t seem genuine to make the amends anymore, it’s as if I’m only doing it in order to tick it off a list.
“I find myself resisting writing a letter that no longer feels true to me – it feels fake. This is disheartening as it shows the insights I have learned have faded. So I end up beating myself up and feeling guilty about not making those amends.”
Certainly The Mind Will Use Anything, Even Delay Tactics, To Get Out Of Making Amends
But nonetheless, making non-genuine amends is never satisfying.
Making amends because “you’re supposed to” feels yucky inside. And doesn’t allow the release and freedom that come from making genuine, heartfelt amends.
So what to do?
My Favorite Amends Are What I Call “Spontaneous Amends”
Once I see my part from doing The Work, I own it. And my behavior tends to reflect that automatically. I’m less angry, less holding a grudge, more humble, acting in a way that shows my genuine change of heart.
For me, this is the most frequent kind of amends that I make. And I think it is actually one of my most genuine.
So I’m Not A Stickler With Myself About Making Amends
Sometimes formal amends are definitely merited. I use them mainly for things that require both acknowledgment of my part and action to make up for the damage I did.
But many times, a shift of thinking and behavior goes further than making an endless stream of amends just to check them off my list.
This is especially true with people I interact with on a daily basis. Talk is cheap. People get tired of hearing “I apologize.” And actions speak better than words. A spontaneous change of behavior is sometimes the best way to make it right, even without saying anything.
And it’s certainly better than abusing myself with the idea that I should make amends. Then I might need to make amends to myself!
One More Distinction
Amends are different than apologies. An apology may be a part of making amends but amends really just mean “making it right.”
If I was wronged, I would appreciate an apology. But if someone went above and beyond words to make it really right, I would be so grateful. For me, actions are where it’s at.
For me, actions signify a true change of heart.
Have a great week,
“What I call “living amends” is more far-reaching. It applies not only to one particular incident but to all future incidents of that kind.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is
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