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Taking Responsibility for Things We Say

Updated on November 20, 2012

Words Have Meanings, whether meant to harm or not

Over my years of being on this planet, I've come across a plethora of different people and their various personalities. They all have impacted me in some way or another, on both a small and large scale. Each have said things, some have meant to harm, and there are those that haven't meant to inflict harm by what they have said, but it still feelings were hurt. This latter group is where the focus will be.

So often the second group will absolve themselves by saying well I mean for what I said to hurt your feelings. They don't take responsibility that comments and words whether they were meant to hurt or not can still hurt. The excuse I've most recently heard is that how something was taken was not how it was inferred and that is on me. Sorry, but that doesn't excuse what was said. Whether the comment was meant to hurt or not, the fact remains that someone's feelings were hurt, and the ownership of what was said is on the person who said them, as well as on the person on the receiving end of the comment. But too often the person who said the words will pass the buck to the person they hurt by saying well I didn't mean it that way, so it's not my fault your feelings are hurt.

This to me is just a cop out and another way that people excuse themselves from taking responsibility for their own actions and how someone reacts to their actions. It's like someone who is an abuser that blames their victim. We all have to take responsibility for what we say, do and think, and take responsibility for the reactions that will incur from what we say, do and think. When we don't take responsibility for the least of things we do, we are being as bad as an abuser, whether verbal or physical, who blames the person they have been abused with phrases of: "if you hadn't made me so angry", "if you had only done what I asked", or "I only did ____ (insert whatever action or word) because you deserved it."

Even if you don't go around intentionally hurting others, the fact is people still get hurt by the things we do and say. If we have any sort of integrity or care about the other person, we need to apologize for our transgressions against others whether it was meant or not. We most especially need to apologize if the one who was hurt found the courage to let us know that what was said was not acceptable to them and they feel bad. To apologize we can say, "I'm sorry that your feelings were hurt by what I said, but in no way did I mean it the way you took it." By apologizing in this way, we acknowledge the validity of the other person's feelings, and the part we played in the negative way our words were taken.

By not acknowledging how we have wronged another, we run the risk of losing honor, respect and most importantly the friendship of the other person, if we continue not to acknowledge that our actions created negative reactions in the other person, whether intentional or not.

As I have stated in another hub, it's the thought that counts, and this applies to how our actions were received by another.


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    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 5 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      MsDora, very true that everything we say and do not only affects another person but ourselves as well. We change with every word spoken and heard, whether greatly or subtly. Thank you for commenting, it is very much appreciated.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 5 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Abby, I have been where you are, the only one working to change who I am to make myself a better person. There were times I wanted to give up, but I have decided that even if no one else wants to change or even acknowledge the changes I've made, the person I am changing for is me, so what others think or say doesn't really matter. So long as I act according to the way I have chosen and not follow how someone else thinks I should think or say then that is the most important step in becoming who I want to be. Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it.

    • abbykorinnelee profile image

      Abigayle Malchow 5 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

      I am very aware now after being in two verbally abusive relationships. I was able to for the first time realize in an arguement that I wasn't going to go toe to toe with them. I wasn't going to say hurtful things to vent my anger. I was very proud of myself when i re-looked at the conversation because I can't hurt people a fter what happened to me. Thats why the bullying makes me so sick to my stomach. I always feel like I am a bit bullied and I am very much a beliver now that we first have to look in the mirror at ourselves and be honest with what we see and its not an easy thing to do...I have done that and I hated what I saw and I have been actively changing myself. But its hard when you are the one that is changing and growing and you think that your people in your life will want to be there for you but you aren't ever a priority. I think that those hurt worst of all...not feeling that you are good enough for their precious time.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for reminding us of the far reaching influence of the words that we speak. If only we would realize that our words affect us too; they display who we are--virtuous or vicious.