I’ve been faced with a few examples of unintentional ‘hurtage’ recently, that’s really gotten me to a-wonderin’.  Does it still count if you don’t mean it to be hurtful?

A friend of mine has been hurt by her gentlemen friend.  He’s insisting that’s she’s great, she’s wonderful, but he’s not ready for a relationship.  He seems to go on and on about how he doesn’t want a relationship, but he wants her around.  And all of this pontification is under the guise of being honest.  Honest or not, he’s pushing her away and hurting her in the process.  He insists that he’s being upfront about his expectations on the relationship, but his actions and his words don’t match.  Under this banner of honesty, he’s hurting her – albeit unintentionally.  He’s trying to communicate to her what he wants, but is doing it in a way that cuts.

Recently, a sibling said to me, “you know what I’ve realized? Our mother doesn’t have a mean bone in her body”.  And he’s right.  My mom is sweet, and caring, and considerate, and giving.  She is all the things people should aspire to be, character-wise.  But, she’s said some really mean things to me in the past.  She was trying to make an impact on me about my weight – but in the process, really hurt me and sculpted what is perhaps not a healthy self-image.

I am not an exception here either.  A recent post had a ripple effect that I wasn’t expecting.  I was writing about something that had happened in my life, never intending to be mean or hurtful; but apparently my words didn’t come across that way.

I think it’s extremely curious that we spend our whole lives communicating; not just with words, but with our bodies, our actions – and we still can’t get it right. 

I know the answer to my question, because I’ve felt the sting myself.  Even though we don’t intend to be hurtful, we still are – and yes, it still counts.

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