(This is a throwback Facebook post from January 2014- Humble roots, edited 11.7.16)
It’s bound to happen to most people at least once a day. Some of the more insensitive or careless one’s among us, it’ll happen more than that. Maybe even two or three times more often will it occur. Hey, we’re all human, right? Just try not to be a prick about it, forgiveness comes in its own sweet time.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about hurting somebody’s feelings.
Seems simple enough to avoid: Be a good person and treat people the way you’d want them to treat you, right? Absolutely! But all too often, when we do cause someone else suffering, not only do we forget to apologize, sometimes we might even act surprised or offended that they’re upset.
Call it naivety, call it crassness, call it being a true a-hole but we’ve hurt them. And we don’t get to decide how deeply that pain runs or how long they have a right to be upset for.
That’s for them to decide, not us.
Now, we’ve got a choice to make. Do we make an attempt to fix it? Do we try and make amends? How long do we try to appease the one we have wronged? How hard of an effort should we make to make amends?
How big of a jerk were you in the first place?
We could just ask the person we hurt. Say, “Hey, you know… I’m sorry I was insensitive, I’d like to make things right.” Or, “I apologize for wronging you, how can I help you to heal?”
Sometimes, there is no patch to mend the damage our words and actions have caused. There is no instant cure-all to take it back.
Regardless of what we feel the adequate amount of grievance should be, we’re not the ones suffering because of our carelessness or thoughtlessness. They are, and it’s up to them to decide the recourse that can be taken.
Of course, the point here is to be good to one another. making sure we treat each other kindly, with compassion and understanding. But OK, so you’ve hurt someone. Now, stand in their spot for a moment and think how they feel, then act to fix it. However, you must mean it when you apologize and follow through on it.
If you’re the one hurting, you’ve got right to feel offended, disrespected, hurt, and even angry. But don’t fixate on those negative emotions too long, and don’t live there. Feel it as long as you need, then forgive them. Not just for them but also yourself.
There’s a lot of variables in human interaction and we can’t always keep everyone from hurting sometimes. But, if we are all mindful of our actions and careful in our words, we can alleviate a good portion of that pain and suffering.
Maybe that’s the point here, to be kind and work on suffering less. Forgiveness, love, and compassion are the keys to unifying happiness. Spread that stuff everywhere!