Last week, I wrote about how important it is to fix things when our actions have caused harm to another person. It’s difficult sometimes, though, to figure out how to fix the mistakes that we have made.
What remedies the pain caused when someone hears that you have been a part of spreading a rumour about them?
What repairs the damage done when you cause another person to miss out on an opportunity that isn’t going to arise again?
When you break something, fixing is often easier. You can either replace the item, or find a way to mend it. But in many situations, it can be really hard to find an obvious solution.
What often happens is we turn to consequences. You were mean to your brother, so you lose TV for the night. The problem is, losing TV does nothing to restore the relationship between siblings. There may be some solace in knowing the person who has hurt you is now being hurt, but it doesn’t really make it better.
The good news is that our brains are very creative. If we learn to appreciate that sometimes these things are hard, and it might take some time to figure out, it’s amazing how the answers sometimes come to us when we relax and don’t get too caught up in figuring it out RIGHT NOW! It’s totally ok to say to a child that you are trying to help that you don’t know the answer either. I actually think it’s pretty important for kids to know that in life, sometimes things don’t come easy, and that it might take some time and some hard thinking to figure it out.
When trying to come up with a way to fix things, it can also help to think about the need that was harmed by your actions. If someone’s sense of belonging was hurt by a rumour being spread, what can be done to help that person feel more accepted? If someone’s sense of power was damaged by a lost opportunity, in what other ways could you help that person to rebuild their sense of mastery or competence in their life?
Please share in the comment section below the ways that you have seen people fix things. You might just help the creative juices start flowing for someone else!