Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
These two steps can be the hardest, most humbling, and the ones we want to avoid like the plague. Well actually, most of these steps we want to avoid like the plague, depending on the mood or situation at hand. For those not familiar with this concept it is plain and simple: you sit down and think of all the people that your behavior due to your disease has harmed. Then you pray or gather strength to say an apology to them in some form or fashion, unless it will put you or the other in a place of harming. Then you can just make an internal amend and send them energy.
I have been to the amend drawing board a few times, even before I started the steps. Asking for forgiveness is the most difficult thing one can do. And sometimes the hardest person to ask forgiveness from is yourself. Over many therapy sessions I have attempted to forgive myself for past mistakes (usually mistakes in relationships or self harm via starving). I remember having a therapist make me write letters to myself as a way to start the forgiveness process. Sometimes those worked, sometimes it didn’t. I believe that those of us who tend to live in the past and can’t see past our mistakes have a more difficult time letting go and forgiving than others. I may have started the self amending process but never understood it till recently.
This previous weekend of teacher training it was our silent weekend. Yes, silence. As in no talking, no music, no tv, nothing that makes a sound. I at first was not going to do it but God gave me a husband who “suggests” that I do certain things that I don’t want to do because they are “good for me” and because I love him I do those self improvement things. But, I did it my way. I easily went into the silence. Starting Friday I became more quiet. Saturday I was even more quiet, spoke more intentionally, stepped away from my phone, then at night began my silent episode.
Lately, I have been dealing with a past issue/someone from my past. I could not figure out why this was on my heart. I prayed to figure it out, seeking God’s wisdom to discern this turmoil inside. Staying at my parents house when I am at TT I have access to all my old journals. So I did some past soul searching. Upon reading some embarrassing and hilarious stories, I walked into the silence and read the words on the page. It became clear on why things have been popping up in my head. While I made amends and asked for forgiveness a long time ago, I hadn’t made amends with myself for the mistake. Tears started flowing, filling up the silence, a turmoil of pain and happiness began to fill my insides. I texted my husband because I was feeling emotions and I hate feeling. Luckily he was there for support and let me cry it out. So there in my bed, all covered up with blankets and afghans, in a fortress of solitude, I prayed and made amends. I forgave myself and counted my blessings. I cried out all my anger and emotions that have been filling up my brain since TT started. I moved everything out of my being and into space.
One thing they don’t tell you about stress is that it weighs you down and when it disappears you feel LIGHTER! I swear I felt 10 lbs lighter. Talk about the best way to lose emotional weight, just cry! Or maybe do some yoga, that happens as well.
Ever since that weekend I have been able to keep that lightness, the self-forgiveness, the happiness…and I haven’t felt this great in a long time. So if you haven’t walked into the silence or walked into the room of amending a relationship, do. Who knows what you will find or how you will feel. Don’t avoid the silence. Don’t avoid the emotions. Just go for it and see what happens.