It is that time of year for new beginnings and a fresh start. A fresh start sometimes involves cleaning up past messes or mistakes. The mess may be disapproval of others, trying to control someone else or holding on to past hurts.
Cleaning up can involve apologizing, letting go of control and/or past hurts. Regardless of whether we are seeking it or giving it, forgiveness is a powerful method for clearing the air and cleaning up messes. It has the power to release the negative effect of judgment, fear and sadness.
According to the Mayo clinic, “forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.” When we forgive others for their trespasses, it frees us from focusing on the mess and allows us to feel empathy, compassion and more connected. We have healthier relationships, higher self-esteem and better well-being when the air is clean between us and the people we care about.
The apology process is a tool that can be used to clean up messes. A simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t have the same affect. We honor those that we care about when we admit that we have made a mistake and let them know that we value the relationship enough to admit our blunder and our desire to make amends.
The following steps can be used for this process:
Apologize – example: “I messed up and I want to apologize for _______.”
Make amends – example: “What can I do to make it up to you?”
Recommit: “Our relationship is important to me, in the future I will…”
This works best if we sincerely talk about the part we played in creating the mess. Note: Tone of voice and body language will indicate intention. How we make amends is most beneficial when agreed upon by both parties.
This is a great opportunity for intimate conversation and exploration. Modeling this for our children will teach them how to have respectful and honorable relationships. Learning that it is okay to make mistakes and how to apologize improves all of our relationships.
If you would like help with this process and/or building and maintaining healthy relationships, please don’t hesitate to call me at 817-253-3082. Wishing you a clean and clear year, full of infinite possibilities!