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No regrets - Beazley H.

Beazley H. No regrets - Wiley publishing , 2004. - 234 p.
ISBN 0-471-21295-4
Download (direct link): noregrets2004.pdf
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The second criterion by which to judge the effectiveness of an amend is whether it can cause further harm to the injured party or to an innocent third party. You have no right to make an amend that assuages your guilty conscience if it harms someone else. Such an act is not an amend but an indulgence. The defining test for an appropriate amend is whether the other person will be better off or worse off after the amend has been made. For example, should Collin reveal to his wife a deeply regretted, short-lived extramarital affair when she knows nothing of it? That is a difficult question to answer unless unsafe sex was involved, which poses a health risk that must be addressed. Otherwise, careful thought should be given to the nature of the amend and to whether an apology should be made that reveals the affair.
Many marriages end when an extramarital affair is divulged. So what would be Collinís best course of action for everyone involved? The answer depends on his situation. Do he and his wife have children, for example? Is their marriage strong enough to handle the infidelity or will the revelation inevitably lead to divorce? Will the guilt of Collinís unrevealed regret drive an emotional wedge between him and his wife? These are difficult questions to answer. An apology (an acceptance of responsibility and expression of regret) may not be appropriate in this case if it will destroy the marriage and imperil his childrenís future. Regardless of how guilty Collin feels and how much he would like to get rid of that guilt, he cannot do it in a manner that will hurt his wife or his children.
Tonyís embezzlement case provides another illustration of how careful you have to be in making amends. If repaying the stolen funds directly to his former company would bring a jail sentence and deprive Tonyís small children of their only source of livelihood, it would not be his best choice. Perhaps, instead, Tonyís repayment should be made anonymously.
Whatever he decides, Tonyís reparation will have to meet the second criterion for an effective amend: no further harm to anyone else.
2. Make the Apology and Reparations
Once you have decided on the nature of your amends, the second part of Step Five is to make the apology and the reparations. Making the apology itself may not be easy, emotionally or otherwise. Some of the people to whom you want to make amends, for example, may no longer be living. How do you make apologies and reparations to the deceased? Some of the people on your amends list will be willing to talk with you, but others will not be. How do you apologize to them? Some apologies should be made in person, but that may not be possible. Other apologies will be better made by telephone or by mail. Apologies to people you hate or to people who have hurt you more than you have hurt them are particularly difficult.
Overcoming Resistance to the Difficult Apology
Some apologies seem quite natural to us and are relatively easy to make. Some we actually want to make. We feel guilty, we love the person weíve hurt, we are sorry, and we will do anything we can to make things right. Wrecking a spouseís car is one such example. These are the easy apologies, relatively speaking. The difficult apologies are the ones that we donít want to make or those that we canít make through normal communication channels because the other person is deceased or irrational. Regardless of how difficult our apology is, however, we have to make it. We canít get around these amends. As a result, we have to resist a natural inclination not to apologize to those who have hurt us or to make such apologies only after the offending parties have made their apologies first. The problem with waiting for other people to act is that they may never go first. It might happen, but why bet our happiness on it?
One way to overcome our resistance to apologizing is to understand why we make amends. We do so to free ourselves of guilt and so of our regrets. We make amends to others, regardless ofwhat they have done to us, be-
cause we make the amends for our benefit, not for theirs. Therefore, what other people have done to us is irrelevant as long as we owe them an amend. This idea is contrary to the way people usually think about amends. Generally we think of amends as something we do for somebody else. Some amends, of course, we do make for the benefit of others, such as to a child we love and have inadvertently hurt or a spouse with whom we want to maintain good relations. But the reason we make amends for our regrets is to help us get rid of those regrets.
The idea that we make amends primarily for ourselves rather than others sounds selfish, but it isnít. We have a right and a responsibility to take care of ourselves, to grow spiritually and psychologically, and so we have a need to make amends for ourselves when they are warranted. We make these amends to get right with ourselves, with our higher power, and with the parties we have hurt. There are other reasons for making amends, such as being the morally right thing to do, but the practical effect of making an amend is that it rids us of the guilt that ties us to our regrets.
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