By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: April 12, 2023
What Does It Mean to Make Amends?
The traditional dictionary definition of making amends is to “correct a mistake that one has made or a bad situation one has caused.” This is a frequent topic of discussion for people once addicted to alcohol or drugs and people with mental health disorders. Whether offering an apology equates to making amends is an important issue that is frequently debated. Not precisely—while both are reasonable efforts, the distinction rests in someone’s goals. Some situations may necessitate both an apology and an effort to make amends.
What Is an Apology?
When asked, “What is an apology?” most psychologists agree that learning to apologize with genuine grace is something everyone should know. We’ve all accidentally wounded someone or mistakenly done something that calls for an apology at some point through our actions or conduct.
By opening up a channel for greater communication, apologizes aid in restoring lost trust between parties. According to experts, an honest apology comprises these two key components:
- It demonstrates remorse regarding a particular action or behavior.
- It acknowledges that specific activity or behavior caused someone else to feel hurt.
An apology gives someone the chance to understand how another feels, to decide what conduct or action is or is not suitable, and to give the person who was wounded a chance to mend. In addition, by taking on the responsibility to sincerely apologize, an individual builds self-confidence and reinforces personal integrity.
Maybe you have trouble apologizing. You’re not alone. It takes courage not only to admit a wrongful behavior or action but also to face the fact that someone else suffered the consequences.
Psychologist Guy Winch says one reason why “non-apologists” have challenges saying “I’m sorry” is because they have difficulty “separating their actions from their character: if they did something bad, they must be bad people.” Even while this isn’t frequently the case, their sense of identity and self-worth are nonetheless under danger. Winch said that shame and guilt are major factors in the difficulty in accepting responsibility for one’s actions in a Psychology Today article. “Guilt makes us feel bad about our actions, and shame makes non-apologists feel bad about their selves.” He also said that extending an apology is often challenging for some people because they fear it’ll create more conflict if they say something.
12 Tips For You To Make Amends With Yourself
1. Focus on your emotions
Concentrating on your emotions is one of the first steps in learning to forgive yourself. Before you can move forward, you need to acknowledge and process your emotions. Give yourself permission to acknowledge, accept, and welcome the emotions that have been awakened in you.
2. Acknowledge the mistake out loud
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You might be able to relieve some of your responsibilities when you give voice to the ideas in your head and the feelings in your heart. You also ingrain in your memory the lessons you took away from your deeds and their results.
3. Think of each mistake as a learning experience
We may forgive ourselves and move on if we keep in mind that we did the best we could with the information and resources available to us at the time.
4. Give yourself permission to put this process on hold
Pickell advises visualizing your thoughts and feelings about the error moving into a container, such as a mason jar or box, if you commit a mistake yet find it difficult to move past it.
Tell yourself that you are putting this aside for the time being and that you will return to it if and when it is in your best interest.
5. Have a conversation with your inner critic
You can learn to be compassionate with yourself and your inner critic by journaling. Pickell says one thing you can do is write out a “conversation” between you and your inner critic. This can help you identify thought patterns sabotaging your ability to forgive yourself.
Making a list of the things you value most about yourself, such as your talents and strengths, can also be done during the journaling session. When you’re having low self-confidence due to a mistake you committed, this can assist.
6. Notice when you are being self-critical
We judge ourselves the worst. One key piece of advice is to pay attention to the stern voice when it enters and then record it. What your inner critic says to you might surprise you.
7. Quiet the negative messages of your inner critic
Recognizing the thoughts that are impeding forgiveness can be difficult at times. Try this practice if you’re having trouble getting your inner critic under control:
- On one side of a piece of paper, write down what your inner critic says (which tends to be critical and irrational).
- On the other side of the paper, write a self-compassionate and rational response for each thing you wrote on the other side of the paper.
8. Get clear about what you want
You must decide the best course of action if your error caused someone else harm. Do you wish to apologize to this individual in conversation? Is it necessary to make amends and find common ground with them?
9. Take your own advice
Role-playing with your pal can be beneficial if you’re having trouble processing this in your thoughts. Ask them to accept your error. They’ll explain what transpired and how they’re finding it difficult to forgive themselves.
10. Quit playing the tape
It’s in our instinct to replay our blunders and spend time and effort doing so. Even while some processing is necessary, going over what happened repeatedly won’t help you move toward forgiving yourself.
11. Show kindness and compassion
It’s time to practice self-kindness and compassion if you find yourself criticizing yourself after a bad experience. Being gentle and compassionate with oneself is the only way to start along the path of forgiveness.
This requires time, consideration, and a reminder that you are deserving of mercy.
12. Seek professional help
If you have trouble forgiving yourself, speaking with a professional could be helpful. Talking to a counselor can help you break these unhealthy patterns and learn new and healthier ways of coping with mistakes. 
The Importance of Making Amends
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) first implemented the concept of “making amends” for people in recovery as a means by which to “amend behavior.” In many circumstances, a sincere apology may be all that is necessary for the other party to feel that you truly want to rebuild their trust and comprehend their predicament.
However, in some situations, expressing regret and acknowledging how you affected another person’s feelings is merely the first step. The next step is proving your intention to conduct morally by taking constructive criticism into account. Sometimes, this may be a simple directive, such as “Is there anything I can do to make this up to you?”
The other person needs to feel heard and understood in order to regain confidence in your future actions and behavior, therefore you may need to be ready to make more positive and noticeable adjustments in your relationship. Again, Mindtools offers an example: “From now on, I’m going to manage my stress better, so I don’t snap at you. And I want you to call me out if I do this again.” Once more, overcoming the pattern is essential to recovery.
These strategies will present challenges to everyone at some point. Making apologies may present additional difficulties for someone in recovery. For instance, the 12-Step program of AA’s deals with this in steps 8 and 9:
- Step 8: Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and be willing to make amends to them all.
- Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when injuring them or others.
Accepting that you won’t always be able to make amends to folks you’ve harmed in some way may not be simple. You could be willing to try, but others might not be. Prior behaviors and actions might too test some to need space. Or the individuals you need to make apologies with have passed away. Whatever the case, you’ll need to accept this, admit any wrongdoing (even if it’s only a secret writing in a daily journal), and change your actions or behavior in order to stop hurting others in the same way in the future.
According to some psychologists, it’s never too late to apologize and make apologies. According to a piece for Experience Life, sometimes, according to author Tamar Chansky, time is on your favor when expressing regret and making amends. “Given the time that’s passed, you could so easily have not apologized, but you did,” she said. “The fact that you are making the effort now only increases the significance of the making an effortology never ‘goes bad.’”
Christine Carter is a senior fellow of the Berkeley, California-based Greater Good Science Center. She makes an appropriate apology seem simple. and makes amends this way: “Tell them what you feel, admit your mistake and the negative impact it had, and make the situation right.”
How Making Amends Helps You
It cuts to the core whenever we consciously understand that we’ve hurt someone. Taking steps to change that is undoubtedly beneficial to the other person. And it heals you. It’s all too simple for outsiders to condemn our efforts and for our internal jury to pass harsh judgment. Are we awful humans or are we just learning how to be better human beings?
Through techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-Step programs, and other methods, our experts help you move beyond the negative aspects of addiction and into a better understanding of who you are and who you’re meant to be.
At We Level Up FL Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information about making amends and other aspects of treatment. Take advantage of your chance to recover your life. Call right now to speak with a member of our treatment team. Our experts will respond to all of your queries since they understand what you are going through.
There is never any obligation and your call is private and confidential.
3 Great Tips to Maintain a Healthy Heart (Emotionally), Make Amends, & How To Improve Your Mental Health Overall Video
Tips For an Emotionally Healthy Heart:
1: Find out who your true friends are.
Many of us rotate between various social circles and groups of people, and everyone seems nice on the surface. But everyone who smiles at you does not necessarily have your best interests at heart. Try to really pay attention to how people you consider your friends act when you’re high and when you’re low, when you get a promotion or lose a job, enter a new relationship, or end one. Their initial response will be their authentic one. In order to keep a healthy heart, you want to surround yourself with people who are on your team, and will be solid like roots, not wavy like leaves.
2: Find a way to express your feelings.
One of the best and most effective ways to maintain a healthy heart is to never hold your emotions inside. When you swallow your feelings, they have nowhere to go but your mind, and you can easily create a negative narrative in your head as to how loved and valued you really are. So find a way to express your emotions, be it by journaling, meditating, praying, writing poetry, writing music, talking to a friend, or talking to a therapist. If you can find an outlet for your emotions, it will be easier for you to understand and manage them.
3: Be kinder to yourself.
Our last, and personally, favorite strategy for maintaining a healthy heart is to just be kinder to yourself. You are a human, which means you will make mistakes. You will mess up. But your mistakes and your past do not define who you are. We are constantly evolving and growing and that takes time and patience. Just like plants, we need water and nutrients to help us on the inside and sunlight to warm us on the outside. Learn how to rest; do not drive yourself into the ground trying to meet deadlines. If someone offers to take care of you or bring you food because they’re worried about you, let them.
Search We Level Up FL Make Amends Resources
Yale Street Therapy -https://www.yalestreettherapy.com/blog/2018/5/1/when-saying-sorry-isnt-enough-by-ashley-graber-lmft
 Mind Tools – https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/how-to-apologize.htm
 Experience Life -https://experiencelife.com/article/making-amends/
 Greate Good – https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_three_parts_of_an_effective_apology