Healing Relationships Step Seven: Repair

We must use money to heal where people are hurting and to stop more hurt from happening.”(From “Seven Steps to Healing” byEdgar Villanueva in Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides, second edition, copyright 2021, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc, Oakland, CA)

Righting the (relation)Ship In Villanueva’s model for economics, this is the stage that rights the balance moving forward. Marginalized voices have been heard with empathy, injustices are meaningfully addressed and priorities are realigned to reflect this new understanding. All of that is important, but without this final step none of that work will heal the future. This is the step where those in power stop inviting marginalized peoples to their tables, and start recognizing that the decision-making table rightfully belongs to all.

And so it is with interpersonal relationships as well. There has been a demonstrated imbalance that was hurting the participants. Now we cull all the wisdom that was gained along the way and co-create something more mutually respectful moving forward.

Recap To recap and get our bearings, here is what we’ve done so far:
Step 1 We gathered good information. 

Step 2 We re-humanized each other in our minds. 

Step 3 We listened emphatically.

Step 4 We learned to relate with greater transparency and intimacy. 

Step 5 We created a relationship landscape that honors both parties. 

Step 6 We aligned our behavior with our relationship priorities.

In our final step, we focus on repairing the relationship by steering into greater mutuality and respect.

Re Pair Language has always fascinated me. Have you ever looked at a word you’ve seen for years and years and then suddenly see it differently? That happened to me while considering this step. For most of my life, “repair” just meant to fix something. Here in the Tech Age, it also means to reconnect. My bluetooth devices stopped talking with one another. They need to be re-paired, reconnected, made a pair again.

And isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to do in healing a relationship rift? Reconnecting a pair that’s lost their ability to meaningfully connect? They need to reset, but on better terms, with greater understanding, trust and intimacy.

Assumptions To create lasting change, we will want to bring together all that we learned in steps 1-6 and build the relationship more solidly moving forward. We will need to recognize the assumptions we used to make, and become conscious about honoring what was decided together.

Healthy relationships are not “set it and forget it.” That’s like being married to someone for 50 years and the person stops telling their spouse that they love them after the honeymoon. I mean, afterall, I married you, didn’t I?

The people who got married 50 years ago are a much less complete version of the people in that marriage today. The “I” that loves the other is different, seasoned with age. The “love” is now layered with 5 decades of experiences of all kinds. The “you” is an acknowledgement of the current iteration of the spouse, hopefully updated again and again through the years. “I love you” at 50 years together is not the same as the “I love you” on the honeymoon.

Hopefully, the couple has “re-paired” many times over based on who they are at each point. When we have run through the 7 steps of healing, we have updated our database on who the person in front of us is, and what healthy relationship looks like between these two people. No assumptions.

Decolonizing You’ve now worked your way through all seven steps to healing in relationships. Whether everything went smoothly or came with barbed wire wrapped gifts, the work that you’ve put in has better equipped you to do the whole skin gig humanning thing.

This is a process of decolonizing our minds – Stepping away from the baked in assumptions around which our culture spins. It’s in every institution, every law, and every field. If we continue to un-learn these assumptions on the fiercely intimate interpersonal level, I have great confidence that we will see and feel equipped to address the assumptions that are harming us as human family on every level.

We can steer toward mutuality, toward respect, toward living in a way that recognizes that all things affect all things. We can make conscious choices in our daily lives, fully cognizant of our effect on others.

In essence, we are being social justice warriors just by turning toward love and thoughtfulness, starting with those relationships closest to us. I dare you.


Have you gotten stuck on any of these steps? Contact Tiffany today. Let’s take a good look at all of your options together.