We spend a lot of time issuing “make-goods” in attempt to fix whatever wasn’t good the first time around, and make it better the next time. In the advertising world, a make-good ad makes up for one that perhaps ran in its intended outlet but just wasn’t up to par, or maybe one that was overlooked and never appeared at all.
Likewise, the phrase “make good” is oftentimes used when referring to making good of our mistakes, and achieving success, however we choose to define it.
As humans, it’s only natural we want to make good something. There are those who want to make good money. There are those who want to make good art. There are those who want to make good friends. There are those who simply want to make good use of the time that’s been given.
Honestly, some days it’s all I can do to make good food, much less make good life choices.
It’s easy to cite our circumstances as roadblocks that keep us from making good in each aspect of our life, but eventually we must take individual responsibility and recognize that in order to make anything good, we must first make good with the person in the mirror.
Despite the difficult nature, “making good” with yourself allows you the freedom to then step forward and make the best for yourself, and in turn, make good with others around you. While I don’t think there is one set path, following are items I deem critical parts of the ongoing art of making good.
Make a List: When it comes to the things we resent most, these items of resentment tend to involve other people. Still, it always comes back to ourselves — since after all, we cannot control the actions of others, only how we respond to them and the implications our responses, or lack thereof, have on our hearts. Try making a list of the things that you resent about yourself. It may be opportunities that you didn’t take, things that you blame yourself for, or simply times in your life that you wish you would have given it all that you had, but for whatever reason, you didn’t. Because we only can control what we make with what’s in front of us today, making a list of things that hang over us from the past can help us acknowledge they happened, rather than brushing them aside and not facing them. This also helps us establish targeted goals moving forward to help us proactively ward off future resentment and simultaneously break any negative cycles that are identified.
Make Amends: Now comes the more difficult part — making amends. This doesn’t mean automatically writing down an excuse for every item you listed, although that would certainly be the easy route. Instead, this means acknowledging the items of resentment, recognizing that you could have acted differently in each situation, but you didn’t, and accepting yourself for whatever way you handled it at the time, or perhaps the negative spiral that happened as a result. Rather than replaying the alternatives of what you could have done differently, the key is allowing yourself to come to terms with what has already happened. At the end of the day, you need to be able to be alone with yourself and be able to accept each choice that has brought you to where you are and who are you in the present, rather than focusing on the person you are convinced you should be, or the place you thought you would be. Personally, I believe that we don’t “get over” things, or become “okay” with things. We don’t forget things. We carry them with us. It’s up to us to choose whether or not we will carry them as burdens, or as chapters.
Make a Pact: Because our minds tend to revisit the places we’ve spent far too much time dwelling in, it’s imperative to make a pact that anytime one of the items of resentment comes back up to the forefront of our minds, we will only allow ourselves to revisit the amends that was made, rather than the harm that was done or the resentment that existed. This is part of the practice of the art of letting go, so that you no longer carry the resentment with you. The pact also includes recognizing that if a similar situation arises, you will hold yourself accountable to handle it differently.
Make a Choice: There are many times in our lives that we face rejection. In each and every one of these cases, we have the option of letting it consume us (which I can probably write an entire book on by now, and just might), or we have the alternative of choosing ourselves (something I’m beginning to make better practice of, which will hopefully be a follow up book someday). This takes actively waking up every day and making a committed decision to choose ourselves. It also takes a state of willingness to give up the thoughts, feelings or decisions that are holding us hostage, and keeping us from moving forward. This includes those most attractive items that we tend to idealize, and the thoughts of what could be that tend to blind us from the reality of what actually is.
Make a Change: This change is arguably the most important change we will ever make in our entire lives — a change of heart. We tend to think our feelings control our thoughts. It’s when we think this way that our minds allow our hearts to flow out of control, which can become especially problematic for those of us who are hypersensitive beings. The truth is in perception. You must actively decide to keep your heart calm and open, but also keep it in check and remember that you and only you have the power to reposition things in your mind and shift the negatives to positives.
Make a Move: Sometimes this is a figurative move, but other times it is literal. If your current surroundings are a constant reminder of things that you have resented yourself for or have beaten you down in the past, or if you find yourself flipping back through pages in a chapter of your life that has reached its conclusion, in order to make good, it can be necessary to step away for a season to gain wider perspective, and to greet the next part of your story.
Make the Best: Continually practicing the art of making good allows you to not just make a mark — but to make the best. Making good with yourself opens you up to an entire new world of existence, one that doesn’t include dragging along a body-sized bag of resentment beside you. You’d be surprised at the opportunities that will open themselves to you when you remember how to believe in yourself, learn how to make good with yourself, and trust in your ability to go out into the world and make the best for yourself.