I love hearing stories about how problems were solved and relationships were restored because someone learned how to use Restitution. But the part that we don’t so often like to mention is that sometimes, it doesn’t quite work out like that.
I learned this first-hand after having a disagreement with a co-worker. I had been really upset, and went home that night and evaluated how I’d handled myself. I recognized what my need was, and what hers was, and realized that she wasn’t the unreasonable, irrational person that I’d made her out to be in my mind. I felt confident that I could use the skills I’ve learned in Restitution to go back and work this out.
That’s now how it went down. She wanted no part of it.
I’ve seen this happen with kids I’ve worked with too. After counselling a student who has engaged in bullying, they want to make it right, but the child they’ve hurt doesn’t want to have anything to do with them.
Is this a failure of Restitution?
Not at all.
Restitution is about being the best person you can be. It’s about taking responsibility when you make mistakes, learning from them, and growing stronger because of the experience.
It surprised me after my colleague rejected my attempts to resolve the problem between us that I actually didn’t feel terrible. I didn’t at all feel like I’d failed. I actually felt kind of proud of myself. It’s not easy to take responsibility. I felt like I’d done the right thing.
Of course, it would be ideal if we could always fix the mistakes we’ve made. But we can’t control other people, and sometimes, it’s just not possible.
Think about that the next time you are solving a problem. If you are being the person you want to be in that situation, you have been successful!