The fourth way to end well is by repairing damage done to relationships either because a task has been mishandled or an injury has been caused through our words or actions. Endings, including year-end, are a natural time to reflect on the activities of the past year to examine our impact, both positive and negative.
We all make mistakes. It takes a strong heart to take responsibility for a mistake or an injury to others. What are the regrets I have from my words or actions this past year? There may be none, but it is an act of wisdom to ensure that we have reflected on our impact and attended to those instances where our intentions and impacts were not aligned.
Courage and personal responsibility are required to initiate truth-telling and reparation. That, and a good apology. An apology is an expression of regret that seeks to repair damage done to a relationship. Angeles Arrien reminds us that an apology with no promise to change the behavior that caused the damage in the first place is empty.
Here is a short meditation to assist you in examining your impact:
• Have I hurt anyone this past year through my words or actions? What must I do to repair the damage I have done?
• Have I disappointed another by that which I have done or not done? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I misled others through my actions or inaction? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I misused humor at the expense of another person? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I been negative or cynical and had a negative impact on other people? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I misused power in some way, bullied another person, or used fear as a tactic to get my way? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I withdrawn or withheld my gifts, engagement or love because I was angry about something this year? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I caused conflict to get attention, win, or hurt others? What must I do to repair the damage?
• Have I lied, misused my word, or taken advantage of someone this year? What must I do to repair the damage?
Visionmakers seek to enter the container of a new year with no regrets, no baggage. They recognize that strong relationships are not only nurturing but also vital to happiness, well-being, and safe passage on the journey of meaning.
That is why they are careful stewards of their impact...and committed to do no harm. Ending well creates the ability to begin well, a recipe for good Karma.
This is the last Visions post for 2009. Thank you for visiting this blog and for sharing it with your family and friends. I will be back in January. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year.
© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.