As practitioners and practice managers, you have a unique opportunity to promote Restorative Justice (RJ) and its transformative potential for repairing harm, healing relationships, and building community. However, to truly embody the principles of RJ, it is important to apply them not just in your professional life, but in your personal life as well.
There was a time when I thought I had it all figured out. I was a restorative justice practitioner, trained in the art of repairing harm and promoting healing through meaningful dialogue. But in my personal life, I was struggling to apply these principles to my own relationships.
“Restorative justice is not a formula, but a way of life, a way of being in the world.” – Kay Pranis
One day, a close friend came to me with a concern. She felt that I had been dismissive of her feelings and had not shown up for her in the way that she needed. My initial reaction was one of denial. I couldn’t believe that I, a trained practitioner of restorative justice, could have possibly hurt someone in this way. I felt defensive and angry, convinced that my friend was overreacting.
But as I reflected on her words, I began to see that there was some truth to what she was saying. I had been so focused on my own needs and priorities that I had not fully considered the impact of my actions on others. She was right – and I had been in denial about the harm that I had caused.
It was a difficult realization, but it was also a turning point. I knew that I needed to take responsibility for my actions and make amends with my friend. I reached out to her, apologized for my behavior, and committed to doing better in the future. Through honest and open dialogue, we were able to repair the harm and rebuild our relationship.
This experience taught me an important lesson about the dangers of denial and the power of taking responsibility for our actions. As restorative justice practitioners, we have a responsibility to live out the principles that we teach in our personal and professional lives. This requires a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths, and commit to consistency.
It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary if we want to avoid being seen as hypocritical in our relationships and communities. By embracing the hard work of personal growth and development, we can become more effective practitioners of restorative justice and inspire positive change in the world around us.
“Restorative justice is not a program; it’s a way of thinking and being that affects every aspect of our lives.” – Mark Umbriet
RJ is about cultivating a mindset that values empathy, compassion, and accountability, and that seeks to promote healing and restoration. It is about recognizing the interconnectedness of all human beings, and the importance of building relationships based on trust, respect, and accountability. By modeling these principles in our personal relationships, we can inspire others to do the same.
However, living the principles of RJ in our personal lives can be challenging. We may find ourselves struggling with our own biases, emotions, and values, which can affect how we see and interact with others. It is important to be aware of these challenges and to practice self-reflection and personal accountability.
“Restorative justice is not a technique or a tool, but a philosophy and a way of being.” – Heather Strang
Self-reflection is an important tool for personal growth and development. By taking the time to reflect on our own behavior and relationships, we can identify areas where we may need to improve, and work to overcome our own biases and limitations. We can also learn to recognize the impact of our own behavior on others, and take steps to repair harm and build trust.
Personal accountability is also key to living the principles of RJ. This means taking responsibility for our own actions and choices, and recognizing that we have the power to create positive change in our relationships and communities. By being accountable for our own behavior, we can model the principles of RJ and inspire others to do the same.
“Restorative justice is not just about conflict resolution; it’s about building relationships and creating a culture of healing.” – Zehr Institute
It is important to remember that RJ is not about being perfect, but about being honest, reflective, and accountable. It is about recognizing that we all make mistakes, and that it is possible to repair harm and restore relationships. By embracing these principles in our personal relationships, we can model the power of RJ and inspire others to do the same.
In our professional work, it is important to be aware of the potential for hypocrisy. If we preach the principles of RJ to our clients or colleagues, but fail to live up to them in our personal lives, we risk being seen as insincere or hypocritical. This can damage our reputation and erode the trust and respect that we have worked hard to build.
In conclusion, as practitioners and practice managers, it is crucial that we internalize the principles of restorative justice and apply them not just in our professional lives, but in our personal lives as well. By cultivating a mindset that values empathy, compassion, and accountability, we can inspire positive change in our relationships and communities.
“Restorative justice is not a panacea, but a powerful approach that has the potential to transform individuals, communities, and societies.” – John Braithwaite
Through self-reflection and personal accountability, we can identify areas where we may need to improve, and work to overcome our own biases and limitations. By embracing these principles in our personal relationships, we can model the power of RJ and inspire others to do the same.
“Restorative justice is about taking responsibility for our actions, repairing harm, and rebuilding relationships.” – Kay Pranis
We must also be aware of the potential for hypocrisy and commit to ongoing personal growth and development. By living the principles of RJ in our personal lives, we can strengthen our credibility and influence as practitioners and advocates for restorative justice.
In the end, the true power of restorative justice lies in its ability to transform not just individuals, but entire communities. By embracing the principles of RJ in our personal lives, we can help to create a more just and compassionate world for all.
Challenge your biases and assumptions: What biases or assumptions do you hold that may be limiting your ability to see others in a fair and equitable way? How can you work to challenge these biases and assumptions in order to create more space for healing and restoration in your personal and professional relationships?
Check yourself with these questions.
- Challenge your biases and assumptions: What biases or assumptions do you hold that may be limiting your ability to see others in a fair and equitable way? How can you work to challenge these biases and assumptions in order to create more space for healing and restoration in your personal and professional relationships?
- Practice radical honesty: In what ways have you been less than honest with yourself or others in the past? How has this impacted your ability to build trust and promote healing and restoration? What steps can you take to practice radical honesty and build stronger, more authentic relationships based on trust and accountability?
- Engage in ongoing personal growth and development: What areas of personal growth and development do you need to focus on in order to become a more effective practitioner of restorative justice? How can you seek out opportunities to learn from others, challenge your assumptions, and gain new insights into your own behavior and relationships? What steps can you take to commit to ongoing personal growth and development?