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Make direct amends to people you wronged wherever possible.
This gives you the opportunity to make things right with those that you have hurt, even if it was as simple as an insult.
This lets you take action and apologize to those you have harmed with your behavior.
This can provide you with peace of mind, relief, and liberation from the chains of regret. Just use good judgment (think carefully about this since your past judgment was not so good!). Also, have a careful sense of timing, not every moment is the right moment. Be courageous and cautious, honest and sincere, respectful and non-combative.
What Do You Need To Do?
Think about the different categories of people you should make amends with. Those who you …
- Physically hurt
- Financially hurt
- Emotionally hurt
- Verbally hurt
- Criminally hurt
Think about those you should approach as soon as you can. Think about those you can only make partial amends with since further disclosure may cause more harm than good. Think about those you shouldn’t take action with at all (you need to let others do this first, such as the police). Think about those you can’t make direct contact with because you don’t know how.
This is important to take your time. Use your best judgment in disclosing your issues, making your apology, and explaining how you are going to make them whole (if possible).
Don’t put yourself in a worse situation, such as admitting a crime or your own part in further fraud without consulting an attorney first.
Don’t say anything that will harm others. It defeats the purpose of making amends if what you say will cause further pain and suffering.
Don’t mistake carefulness for avoidance. Practice good timing when making amends but don’t use that as an excuse to delay reconciliation.
Remember, full disclosure may harm the one with whom you are making amends, or quite often, other people. It won’t make you feel any better to increase their burden any further. However, you also have to balance this with their right or need to know, such as in the case of your family.