“Would ‘sorry’ have made any difference? Does it ever? It’s just a word. One word against a thousand actions.”
― Sarah Ockler, Bittersweet
I have hurt people.
I have hurt them in big and small ways, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I am human, I am flawed, I am scared, and I am hurting too. I don’t want to be like this and, trust me; I am working every day not to be. Eventually, I may learn to cope in some instances, but I will always have a tendency to fall back into old ways. I will always want to do what is easy, and it is easy to hurt others.
The world is a confusing place, and all I am looking for is a way to find some solid ground. I am looking for some control. I am looking for a way to feel safe.
Sometimes that means I am unkind. It means I pretend at not caring. It means I do things to hurt you, push you away, and keep you near. I just want to love you, make you happy, and help you love me back. I don’t know how to do that, and I feel inadequate. My actions are wrong, and they don’t make sense. I get frustrated with myself, and then frustrated with you. In the end, I blame you for my inability to act like you are important and worth my time and patience.
I am sorry.
“I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.”
― Lois Lowry, The Giver
Hurting others feels better than feeling strange and stupid.
We hurt each other to avoid our own hurt feelings. It’s pathetic, I know it, and you know it, and there is no excuse for it, but to be human is to be burdened by more feelings that you can safely hold. We suffer but we have been given no means of alleviating that suffering in any meaningful and permanent way. Anything that makes it even a little better only leaves us with more anxiety. We live in fear of losing what we find soothing, and we act in increasingly erratic and insane way to keep it.
We should all be apologizing to each other. All humans are guilty, and all humans are the injured party. None of us deserve to be on the receiving end of another’s insecurity and disappointment, and none of us have the right to use another as an emotional punching bag. We all do it in our personal relationships, but we do it on a much larger scale too.
Have you hated whole groups of people? Have you refused to listen to another point of view? Have you decided “those people” don’t deserve the same rights and comforts as you? Have you ever hit someone? Have you agreed that bombing another country is the right answer?
You may owe the world an apology.
This letter has been mine.
It isn’t good enough, though, because I cannot promise I won’t do it again. It isn’t good enough because I know I will do it again. I can only say again I am human, and I am hurting and like most humans, it is my first instinct is to spread that pain around. I am sorry I do this, I know better, we all do, but it takes a lot of work to be better. A lot of work, every single day.
I beg your forgiveness and ask for your patience, and I hope you can find it in your heart to give it to me.
I will do the same for you too.
“Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevski, The Brothers Karamazov
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Original image via Harsha K R
P.S. Inspired by the video Why and How to Say Sorry by The School of Life