Friday, June 25, 2010


Why is it OK to hurt people? I think the intuitive response for most is “it’s not.” But how true is that? I thought at one time that we are never supposed to hurt anyone. That if life came with a rule book, that would be Rule #1. Yet it is not possible to never cause anyone pain. I would imagine that certain, more spiritual, deeply religious, or Zen societies strive to never cause pain, but even Jesus certainly hurt people. Leaving behind people who loved him to move on and do what he was meant to do surely caused pain to many. Is it ok to hurt people if your intentions are good? Regardless of intent or reasoning, pain is still pain.

If, perhaps, we are supposed to endure pain ourselves rather than hurting others, how far should we go with that? Where would we draw the line? Should someone stay in an abusive relationship because it would hurt the other person to be left? I guess this would never even happen if we all lived by the same rules of conduct, but we don’t. How much responsibility, then, should one take on? Do we have more responsibility to endure more pain ourselves just because we’ve considered this topic? That hardly seems fair. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

There are so many levels of hurt, and so very many situations that are hurtful. We can hurt someone’s feelings simply by saying something that they take differently than it was meant, or by, say, leaving them out of plans for one reason or another. We are hurtful through misunderstandings, and by having different needs. We hurt others by making choices that do not necessarily coincide with what someone else may want. We hurt others out of anger, retaliation, fear, need, desire, hate, and love. I’d venture to say that there is not a single emotion which has not at times caused pain. We are social creatures, yet it seems the only way to try to avoid hurting people would be to remove yourself from society -- never develop relationships, and never even speak to others. Yet if we were to do that, that act alone would hurt those who love us and are left abandoned. We simply cannot escape hurting others.

Obviously we are meant to hurt others at times. It seems cruel and wrong, but it must be so, and there must be a reason for this. We learn a lot by being hurt. Our personalities probably develop more so based on our emotional injuries than on any other experiences. Our painful life lessons are a huge contributor in how we develop and what choices we make further along our path. Is there a black and white answer to what is acceptable to do to others and what is not, or is that line within each of us? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what is truly right, and the thought that keeps entering my mind is “tread gently.” I know there will be situations when I will hurt someone. I think the best way to handle these situations is thoughtfully and empathetically. I don’t always do that. I think most of the times I’ve been hurtful, it’s been a quick, knee-jerk reaction where I just don’t reflect on all perspectives of a situation before I act. There are times when someone pisses me off and I react by saying hurtful things; at these times I need to let go of anger, as it doesn’t benefit anyone. There are times when I hurt others just because I don’t think about how they would feel; I need to reflect more often on how I would feel in other peoples’ shoes. And there are times when I hurt others because I have to do what is right or best; these times I need to handle carefully and with forethought.

Alas, we cannot avoid causing others pain always, but we can at times avoid it, learn from it, or do so more gently.

1 comment:

  1. Wow girl! This is deep! You are right, hurting others in inevitable, and most of the time, unintentional. If I've ever hurt you, I'm so sorry!!! It definitely was not my intention. Missing you still.



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