Live Your Amends

I love finding bits of real knowledge and wisdom from unexpected places. Tv shows, movies, and books are something that we integrate into our lives but we rarely see it as anything but entertainment. I really love when I’m watching something and I just get hit by that “Yes! Yes! Yes! Wisdom-alert!” feeling and it has a real, deep, effect on me. Also, I’m a huge tv junkie, so I can now justify it by writing awesome wisdom-inspired posts about it!

Private Practice, which is a spin-off of the tv show Grey’s Anatomy, is about a group of doctors (and friends) that work together. In the episode called “Good Grief” there’s a very deep conversation between Violet, who is a psychiatrist and Charlotte, who is the Chief of Staff at a hospital. Violet has a patient that did something terrible a decade earlier and is having trouble living with it. This is what Charlotte, a recovering alcoholic, tells her:

Charlotte: “In AA, making amends is essential. Sometimes the other party is gone or they refuse to forgive us, so we practice living amends.”

Violet: “What is that? How do you do that?”

Charlotte: “Well you live the best life you can, do good where you can, help people when you can, be of service.

You can’t change what you’ve done, but you can change who you are and improve your life.

It’s hard to explain why living amends work. They do, somehow they just set you free.”

When I heard this part, it spoke to me so deeply, and I realized that’s what I’ve been doing, in my own fumbling way. My life is about being of service and doing good work. I really, honestly, with my whole heart want to make a difference in someone’s life, in YOUR life. I want to change the world one person at a time. Ten years ago I would not have cared. Five years ago I would not have cared.

I was not a good person.

I’ve talked about how, in the past, I was selfish, abusive, and boundary-pushing and everything every day was about me, me, me and if you did not make me happy, then Heaven help you because you were going to feel my wrath, usually in slicing and cutting words. I would tell people that I loved that I hated them. I would tell them to get the ‘eff out of my life if they didn’t do something I wanted when I wanted it.

Sometimes, I would lie to get attention or I would throw a fit to get attention. I would push people away, on purpose, just to make sure they’d come back, because I felt some sort of validation from doing that. When you are absolutely awful to someone and then they still want to talk to you, well then you just must be that awesome. It’s a horrible way to seek validation, but it’s something that I would do.

I was not a good person.

Sometimes I wonder about fate and destiny and all of that. If this path was chosen for me or if I chose it for myself. Either way, I know that I am meant to be doing whatever it is that I am doing. Maybe it was the work I was born to do, or maybe it was the work I chose to do for the simple need to live with myself and my choices.

It is a life of amends.

And I’m totally okay with that. Despite what led me to this path, or why I’m on it, I’m here, and for the first time in my entire life, I’ve been happy. I’ve been really truly happy, for days, for weeks, for months, it’s been over a year. I remember my last uber severe period of depression (It’s been almost two years now) and I can’t imagine that it will ever feel that bad for me. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, or maybe it’s truth. All I know is that I am better, my life is better. I am happy.

I am living the best life I can.

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