They didn’t set out to hurt you

They just don’t always know or understand what they do


Sometimes we hurt the ones we love. We harm the ones we care about most.

It’s not some war cry of the toxic lover, not some accolade of “love hurts.” It’s simply a gentle — gentle — understanding that: my darling, people are human. We are imperfect. And even if we care deeply for one another, we hurt one another. And what’s worse, sometimes we don’t even know.

I can understand how it would seem easy to “know.” I get it, how it should seem obvious how not to be rude, or insensitive, or immature. I see how easy it is to hold others to the standard of behavior we like to think we hold ourselves. My darling? I get it.

But these people we care about — these people we’ve invested in — they are only people, too, at the end of the day. And we are all sloppy and imperfect, and some of the mistakes we all make are going to be with others’ feelings.

It wasn’t deliberate. You have to know.

We don’t realize that someone we saw once had already started developing feelings. We don’t realize what that dude we chalk up as a “5” put on the line to approach us. We don’t realize what people are really meaning when they say things or do things, and we don’t always know when they’ve been hurt. We don’t realize, sometimes, how our words come across when we text — or talk, or even write.

We all do this. Even the most careful. Even the gentlest of creatures can inadvertently sting.

And sure, maybe I shouldn’t be speaking for “them.” Maybe I shouldn’t put words in other people’s mouths. Maybe.

But I think, deep down, below all the barriers of emotional protection some of us build up, we all do care about our fellow man. We all do care about not doing harm — perhaps not the truly psychotic, sure, but those are few and far between. We may care first and foremost about our pain, but we are, at the end of it all, affected by the pain of others. And we all want others to be free of suffering — especially at our own hands.

And I know that doesn’t change the pain — in the moment when it stings most, you don’t care as much what the bee intended. I get it.

But once it subsides, I want with my whole heart to believe that the bee was operating only from a place of fear, or self-defense. And if the bee could understand, he wouldn’t mean it. And it doesn’t make it sting less, but it does help the ripples of emotional hurt.

My darling, there are ugly people out there, sure. But for the most part, and maybe even with them, people do hurtful things inadvertently, or because they are operating from a place of self-protection.

I believe wholeheartedly in the human heart. And I believe at the end of it all, when we all look back, we will want to have touched with more love than pain.

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