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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Stands in the Way of Your Relational Happiness? Could It Be Amends?

“Gladly we desire to make other [people] perfect, but we will not amend our own fault.”

~Thomas á Kempis.

I find it strangely humbling to first notice, through the inspiration of the Spirit, the side of my own fault in relationships. Strange because I should feel a wealth of guilt and shame; yet a bizarre “easing” thing happens. My troubling mindset is in fact relieved as if magically because I am at once the master of my own destiny—I can make amends! Added to this is the rather compassionate hindsight I receive. I at once start to fill the shoes of the other person. ‘Hmm... this feels different.’

And this is all good!

Generally what threatens all our relationships is the ever-growing chasm of conflict that is produced when one or neither party sees their own fault. These conflicts keep us from peace—and this, ironically, is our golden clue toward fresh relational life.

The dis-ease we experience is good for us simply because it’s designed to create awareness in us to make our amends. All deeper relationships need their “amends” time, for we have this propensity to say and do hurtful things to each other if we have a functional relationship. And if we don’t address the conflict by making our amends, we’ll soon be threatened with a dysfunctional relationship. It happens.

The beautiful personal wonder in this is, when we do take our moral inventories and prepare to make amends, we’re well on our way to being healed from the inside out—devoid even of the other person’s reaction to our eventual amends.

Their reaction hardly matters at this stage because we have resolved in our own minds our part of the fault and blame and we rest comfortably that at least we’re being honest and fair. Our approach to them is changed in an instant; and this augments a sudden reduction in the fear we’d otherwise have experienced. The fear can even be removed, lifted from the situation.

The goal is that we gradually go on improving our relationship with them, for our antagonism is suddenly there no longer. Things can only improve.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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