Hurting Others Unintentionally
Living is like dancing. People unintentionally bump into each other and step on each other’s toes daily. Some people are clumsy, frequently falling over their own feet, taking others with them to the floor.
Fact is people do hurt each other daily in many ways, and most of the time we do it unintentionally and even in total ignorance.
Hurt is defined by dictionaries as –
- Give trouble or pain;
- Be a source of pain;
- Cause emotional anguish;
- Make miserable;
- Cause damage or affect negatively;
- Cause (somebody) emotional pain or offence;
- Feel physical pain;
- Feel ill, be uncomfortable or in pain.
- Any physical damage to the body caused by violence, accident or fracture etc;
- Psychological suffering;
- Feelings of mental or physical pain;
- A damage or loss;
- The act of damaging something or someone.
This hub is not about hurting others intentionally and also not about hurting each other unintentionally with fatal consequences. This hub is about those clumsy 'bumping into each other' and 'stepping on each other's toes'.
My own clumsiness in one week -
At the funeral of my ex-sister-in-law I waited until last before I step forward to express my condolences to her husband, my ex-brother-in-law. He was eight when I got married to his eldest brother. As the youngest of three brothers and with no sisters, he picked me, besides his mother, as a role model of a woman. He adored me from the start insomuch that he begged me twenty years later (in vain) to change my decision to divorce his brother. Since then we have seen each other about twenty times - once per year during the Christmas season.
He was strong at the funeral until he saw me. He broke down on my shoulder and cried like I’ve never heard or seen a man cried in my life. I held him for a long time, patting his back, frozen with the knowledge that I am completely powerless and not at all able to minimize his pain. Not even with a million hugs. I felt small and incompetent to carry the big responsibilities Life throws upon women, specifically the responsibility of playing the role of a mother or elder sister. All of us play these roles one time or another in our lives, and how do we fare?
Back to the topic -
After he regained his self-control I was still frozen for many seconds when I all of a sudden registered that his eighteen year old son was standing right next to me. He was looking at me, holding his tears, waiting for his turn for a hug. His lips were trembling like the lips of a sad baby. I opened my arms for him and just like his father he broke down on my shoulder without a clue how guilty I felt because I've ignored him without even realizing it for how long. He might have - could have - think I had ignored him on purpose.
At the nursery school the other morning I handed my clinging three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter over to her teacher, pretending that I’m not upset about her unwillingness to go with the flow. Back in my car I realized I had ignored another teacher who was standing there, witnessing my quasi playfully hand-over performance.
Some teachers will accept this as normal, while others may feel they were treated with disrespect and even with contempt. So I almost yielded to my impulsive urge to run back and practice my good manners until she explodes with joy.
Right here at The Hubs I accidentally noticed today I did not respond to comments left on one of my hubs by two of my most dearest friends. Oh, and there are probably more of this kind of clumsy bumps I will discover in time. I felt so bad and almost yielded to my impulsive urge to send them a ‘please forgive me’ message.
How do we make amends after we have hurt others -
If you are like me you will always get an almost uncontrollable urge to say “I’m so sorry! OMG, I'm so sorry I’ve hurt you!”
This is, however, the very last thing one should do.
When we say: “I’m so sorry I’ve hurt you,” we are in fact putting ourselves in the position of a winner who defeated a looser. Nobody with a healthy self-esteem, who is proud of himself and his achievements, likes to hear the word ‘sorry’. It is a simple word with no positive power. Most of the time it does not even reach the heart; it becomes a bitter pill in the throat. Swallowing it means admitting we’ve been hurt, admitting we are vulnerable with sensitive egos, while we prefer to believe we are strong and beyond the reach of criticism, attack or impeachment.
Down in the comment section rpalulis inspired me to add – “I never feel comfortable when someone say to me “I am sorry I’ve hurt you.” Yes, we may deserve the apology and we should accept it with dignity just as we accept compliments and even criticism and insults. But why force others to accept something that does not give them pleasure? Why not please and satisfy them with a gift or favor of any kind? Surely making others happy is making ourselves happy.”
So what to do after we’ve hurt somebody?
Don’t use those vain words “I’m sorry!” Show them! Be creative! We should do something constructive for the person we’ve hurt, in such a way that the person realizes we are sorry for whatever hurt we have made him/her suffer. Just one well thought-out action may be enough to countermand all damages we have done in our clumsy and ignorant modes.
While doing this we’ve got to be discreet. If we seek recognition because we humble ourselves to say “I’m sorry” in whatever way, we are right back at square one – hurting someone unintentionally (because we are selfish and clumsy).
My plan of action to make amends to the people I’ve hurt (or might have) during the past week.
- My nephew will receive at least two tax-messages from me – or posts on his Facebook’s profile page. “Hi! Just want you to know I’m thinking of you and I’m always available for a quick chat.”
- I’ll find something to say to the teacher at the nursery school to make her realize I respect and admire her with all my heart for practicing her fantastic talent – to educate toddlers – for the benefit of all.
- My dearest friends here in Hubland – those I’ve skipped in the comment sections of my hubs, will, while reading this hub, realize I’ve written this one especially for them. I know they will smile when they read this, and they will instantly forgive me my clumsiness.
When we are hurt by others
Some of us are insensitive, some are sensitive and others are over-sensitive. I am one of the latter, though at last mature enough NOT to fall to pieces when somebody accidentally or even on purpose ‘step on my toes’. I can provide a list as long as my arm of hurts others unintentionally made me suffer. But this list is in essens a master copy of hurts suffered by all people on this planet. Hurt is hurt. pain is pain - it is severe, normal or mild. The rest - the circumstances, the specific infliction, the detail are nitty-gritties, six of a kind and half a dozen of the rest.
I would like to share my method of dealing with hurt –
First I ask myself WHO is the person who is hurting me. I value him/her and his words/manners based on a quote of Napoleon Hill: “Who is he... what did he accomplish in his life, or merely experience, that gives him the power and authority to hurt me?” NOBODY in this world was born and raised in my shoes. I am the ONLY one with the right to hurt myself and/or to allow others to hurt me.
If the person is very close to me, I will consider the meaning and purpose s/he has in my life, as well as that of my own in his/her life, the peace and harmony in our relationship - whether it matters or not, his/her motives and intentions, and then I will decide whether I’ll accept, suffer and sooth the pain s/he is causing me for longer than a minute – I will always restrict pain to a certain period of time. Of course there are pains we have to accept and suffer for the rest of our lives, for example those caused during a major accident.
We reject/suppress/deny pain with ANGER. Our anger kills our pain as a fire extinguisher kills a fire. Our anger may not be enough to kill a certain pain immediately. Some times we stay angry for a few minutes, some times for days, and some times forever. Some pains are truly like the burning bramble bush Moses once upon a time stumbled upon in a desert.
Dealing with my own pain I always try my best to follow the advice of King Solomon.
“A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.” Proverbs 12:16.
Of course I am not always able to follow this. I am an impulsive woman by nature who can react fiercely on my emotions. Many – too many – of the wrongs I have done in my life was because I have failed to follow Solomon’s advice.
To the rhythm of Life
I hurt many,
Many hurt me -
We are dancing
the rhythm of Life.
Our pain is mild,
normal or severe -
we are dancing -
we are alive.
Quotes about hurting
- The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology. ~Red Auerbach
- Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right. ~Mario Cuomo
- Goodness is the only investment that never fails. ~Henry David Thoreau
- It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong. ~Henry adsworth Longfellow
- Every human being has... an attendant spirit.... If it does not always tell us what to do, it always cautions us what not to do. ~Lydia M. Child
- To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. ~Will Durant
- Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. ~William Faulkner
- There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. ~French Proverb
- Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough. ~Arthur Freed
- Your life may be the only Bible some people read. ~Author Unknown
- “Hurt, as other emotions, must be shaped into perspective.” ~ Marcella Glenn
Why do we hurt the one we love?
- Darling, Why Do We Hurt the One We Love? | Psychology Today
Each man kills the thing he loves. By Aaron Ben-Zev, Ph.D....