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So, now that you’ve discovered how untruthful you can be, it’s time to take a step into the truth. You can do that by taking responsibility for your own actions, past, present and future.

It’s amazing how great I feel after I admit to what I’ve done wrong and apologized for the hurt I’ve caused. It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. What I find most interesting is most of the time it turns out that I’ve blown the effect of my actions way out of proportion.

Usually, the person I’m apologizing to can’t even remember the incident I’m talking about. What I like best about this is that it forces me to have a real conversation with the person I hurt and that usually means I end up really listening to what my friend has to say. Sometimes that’s all it takes to repair a broken or damaged relationship.

Don’t forget to apologize to yourself! While you’re at it, forgive yourself, too. One of the hardest things to do in life is to forgive ourselves!

So, you have a week before 2010 starts. Take a little while to sit down and make a list of the people you believe you’ve hurt this year, then get on the phone and make the calls. No procrastination! Life is too short to spend it carrying around a heavy load of guilt and shame.

Doing this will take great courage. Don’t I know it! Doing this demands that you make yourself vulnerable and that’s scary. You’ll need to be ready to accept any and all reactions, including anger and rejection. Sometimes the people we love are frightened by the possibility of us changing. They may not want us to become strong and capable. Don’t let this stop you! Making an apology is a powerful statement of love. You don’t have to be forgiven by someone else to get the benefit of giving that love!

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Thanks so much for writing. It's so good to think about such things at this time of year, so we go into the new year with a feeling of fresh possibility. And thinking about who we've hurt doesn't have to mean deliberate action. I realize that there are a couple of people I let fall by the wayside this year, and I'm sad about that and need to fix those situations as well.

The difficulty comes here: When admitting your truth (to yourself and others) then demands difficult changes in behavior to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again. Sometimes the apology is the easy part, and changing the habit is where we fall down.

December 30, 2009 - 8:08am
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