Weighty Matters

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Making Amends

There are steps in the 12 Step programs that talk about taking inventory of ourselves and our actions, admitting them to another person, and then making a list of people we’ve harmed and making amends where possible.

It’s a daunting and humbling process to study one’s self and one’s actions so objectively, take that personal inventory, and then suck it up and make amends. I think a lot of us would just prefer a do-over and skate by on the promise to do better in the future.

It doesn’t work that way — not when we’ve harmed others and definitely not when we’ve harmed ourselves. I am far better at apologizing to someone else than I am at making amends to myself. I’ve hurt myself a lot over the years — emotionally, mentally and physically.

I’ve thought badly of myself and really treated myself in awful ways. Seriously, if I treated others the same way it would be justifiable for someone to declare me a hateful, mean person. If someone else tried to treat someone I loved in the same way, I’d bitch slap that someone across the room.

So why was it acceptable to be rotten to myself? How did I learn to be mean, or at the very least, completely unsupportive to me? I wish that I had the answer.

I’m working on being a whole lot better to myself these days. I can’t undo the past, but I can apologize to myself, forgive myself, and resolve to not repeat the crappy, hurtful behavior in the future. I think that making amends to myself, truly being loving and forgiving, is essential to my recovery.

One way of repairing the physical abuse is to continue to be diligent with my exercise. I’m making my body stronger and healthier. The mental amends? I can work on them by cancelling negative, derogatory or judgmental thoughts if they pop up. Emotional amends? Loving myself, nurturing my needs, being as good and kind to myself as I enjoy being to others, goes a long way.

How do you feel about the ways — good and bad — that you treat yourself? Can you give yourself a hug today?