Updated: Jan 21
Are you ready to make amends?
One of the hardest conversations to have involves saying "I'm sorry." It is difficult to accept that you are responsible for hurting someone and living with that realization without doing anything about it is nearly impossible. Guilt will gnaw at you not letting your light shine. It is a dark, dark place to inhabit.
Guilt is considered the mafia of the mind. While hidden, it manipulates you in substantial ways, not letting you move ahead in your journey. Because of how unsettling it is to feel guilty about something, it triggers a need to make things right somehow and take responsibility. In this way, guilt can be a positive thing.
It is true, making amends is step 9 of the Twelve steps in Alcoholic Anonymous. But first you need to identify those who were hurt by your actions: that would be step 8. To summarize:
"Amends is compensation for a loss, damage, or injury of any kind. There are steps you take to make amends, which include:
Take stock of the damage you caused.
Express the desire to repair it.
Admit to your mistakes.
Find a way to repair the damage.
Be patient about getting someone’s trust back.
Step 8: “We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”
Step 9: “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” (X)
While these teachings have been adopted by the 12 Step recovery modality, they apply to all of us, if within the throws of addiction or not. We are social animals and as such engage in relationships. It is expected that at some point or another, parties within a relationship will hurt or be hurt in some way. Ironically, those are the times when our relationships can grow the most.
"Ok, but how do I actually make amends?" you may ask. A succinct three steps (with many layers) may help you achieve just that:
What happened? Try to be objective and not have your feelings cloud the facts.
Make a plan to address and possibly fix the relationship.
Follow up. Don't repeat the same mistake and learn from the experience. Do not marinate in self-pity if it does not turn out the way you envisioned it. So, this is very important for you to remember: You may be ready to address an issue, but the other party may not be. It is therefore crucial for you to be okay with the other party saying "thanks but no thanks..." It is time to move ahead, leaving uncomfortable feelings aside so that you may be able to address them some other time, maybe some other way. (X)
The Z Form can make this daunting task a lot simpler and less emotionally charged.
What you need:
An email address for you and the recipient (and witnesses if desired)
A genuine desire to connect with someone
No expectations (your intent does not guarantee the outcome)
After purchasing the Z Form, you will be redirected to a page to input your name and email, as well as the name and email of the recipient. You have the option to put emails and names for witnesses if you would like as well.
(The witness section is optional.)
Then click "Begin Signing"
What the choice of using the Z Form says about you:
1. You are serious about making amends. It formalizes the interaction beyond just a conversation as CONSENT from the receiving party is provided.
2. You want to remember that this interaction took place. It memorializes the expectations of the interaction.
3. It tells the other party that you are not doing it without thought and that you are actually expecting them to have a voice. You give the other person a heads-up, therefore, respecting their readiness to engage.
4. It says that you are honest about your intention and that you are more likely to follow through with mending the relationship since, after all, you are making an actual monetary investment (even if it is just $3.99).
So, YES, saying you are sorry is scary and oh so difficult! But remember that guilt weighs on you like a bag of bricks and it does not accomplish anything other than hindering your journey. If you choose to do nothing, guilt will change who you are and transform you into a bitter and miserable person. Don't let this happen, take charge and take the first step toward freedom. Z Form is here to help.