Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just Wondering...

If you hurt someone without intending to, does it count as a black mark against you in the plus and minus columns of the world’s accounting system? (If one exists.) Or in your soul? I’m thinking/feeling that it does – at least in my soul.

And if your weapon of choice is silence when you’ve been hurt by the words or actions of others (or your default weapon because words may fail you at such times), is this more damaging and hurtful than responding in kind? More damaging both to yourself and to the other person?

Or if you hurt someone – by word, deed or silence - in order to protect yourself, does that count against you? Is the protection of your own soul/self a justifiable excuse?

And, really, who is actually doing all this counting except for me?

Anyone privy to my private life reading this, know that I am reflecting on my own words, deeds, silence, guilt and soul. I don’t possess a halo or anything close to resembling one.

Such musings via one’s blog is one way to express yourself when it seems impossible to do so elsewhere. A private journal also works - a far more preferable & more frequently used means for a private person such as myself. There are things I’ve written that have never seen (or should never have seen) the light of day. But there are times when others in the blogging world respond and provide a much needed, appreciated and different perspective.

Or, I will simply emerge from this contemplative stage on my own as I usually do. I’ve managed to get this far in life wondering and stumbling. I never fall. I just get a little quiet…for a little while.


(Just noticed there’s a typo in the I image posted…while at times I may be verbally at a loss as to words, apparently my eyes are in working order…)


photo credit: http://www.psychologytoday.com/files/u248/questions.jpg

21 comments:

sherry ♥ lee said...

Only you would notice the typo in the photo image while you are going through self contemplation!! But sweetie, that is you ♥

The answer to this obviously will come from within you as it always does. The word that comes to mind for me is forgiveness. Of self first and then others.

And the self-reflection and introspection is part of what makes you such a caring soul.

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Guilt is guilt, but truth is truth. Move on unless you said something untrue that hurt someone.

msb said...

You have never been capable of hurting anyone in your whole life which is why you have so many people in your life who care about you.
You are right when you wrote that you need to protect your own soul/self, because truly, if you don't who will?
As for the halo, I see it there so many times...

Deidra said...

I've always thought it is the intent that counts, or rather - matters. A bible verse says that people look at the outside (what we say or do or don't say or do), but God looks at the heart.

oreneta said...

None of us are perfect as we stumble through all we have to do. Inevitably we are going to hurt other people whether we intend to or not. How we respond and how the other person responds has as much to do with our own history and baggage as anything else.

I don't know that there is a single right way to respond to being hurt. You already know all this...

I try to go through life in such a way that the people I see and meet are, in sum, more glad they know me/saw me than they are sorry they knew or saw me.

Don't always pull it off, but usually.....

Thinking about it is always a good thing anyway.

Stewart Sternberg said...

It is always difficult to forgive onesself. One thing I've discovered about relationships and guilt, or blame, is that the past is something which can not be reclaimed. Ultimately when there are wrongs, we move on. If we can correct them, we should. If not, we must let them be. It's all about realizing what one has actual control of. I think the twelve step programs have it right with the Serenity Prayer.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

i feel you beth. i do.

work through whatever it is, however you feel comfortable...

just don't make it more than what it really is. i'm a professional at that.

Beth said...

To All

Thank you for your advice, wisdom and support – and for that much needed perspective. This is one area in my life (and, yes, there are others...) where I haven’t seemed to have attained maturity – tend to get lost and confused, think too much...
Forgiveness, truth, what’s in my heart, mistakes made, the inevitability of hurt, working through it, moving on and, yes, the Serenity Prayer.
There, I’ve written it all down. That always helps. :)

(As for that halo, it’s an illusion, kiddo...)

apriliniowa said...

I'm a firm believer in the old adage: "You reap what you sow." With or without some form of faith in something besides your own existence, what goes around eventually comes back around. Forgiveness has never come easily for me though. But it is always. Always. Expected. The older I become, the harder it is to forgive. And even more difficult to forget...

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Hi Beth!
I've seen you on quite a few of the blogs I read. I loved this post. I'm always "Just wondering"

Sorry, I have no answers but it was nice to read your blog!

Hugs!!

Maggie May said...

I think about this kind of thing all the time.

Lainey-Paney said...

My thoughts on this: if you feel like you've hurt someone & you are able to acknowledge it to yourself---it's worth discussing with that person &/or apologizing. Even if you don't feel like talking to them anymore---face it. Explain it to them. State the facts, and say, "I'm sorry if I have hurt you", or "I'm sorry if my actions are hurtful." If they love you, they will try to see your side, and hopefully accept it.

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Good questions, I'm feeling they are coming from deep down. Not knowing the exact circumstances that spawned the questions I would say (from experience) that to respond to a hurt while you are still smarting often doesn't give you either the results you want or the sense of emotional relief you need. It's hard to sit on that kind of hurt, though. I often ask, "What would Buddha do?" and of course I'm also thinking of the Dalai Lama. There is no reason why you should have to suffer alone, I favour a phone call or a letter written once I've been able to gather my thoughts and heal a little from the initial blow. Is your reaction going to cause more hurt and either way, is it going to change anything? I need to take a page from my own book today, I'm laying low and doing some emotional sorting.

Charlotta-love said...

I like to write. It gets out all my emotion. If it includes someone, I write them a letter. ...then I don't send it. Writing actually lets me REALIZE how I feel so if the opportunity comes to talk with the person, I won't stumble over my words (as much).

Cheryl said...

This is always tough. (well, I hope not always. I hope I get better at it) But I've been in this situation a number of times in recent years. And I think I've made every mistake in this situation a person can make. I let my feelings, far too often, get the better of me.

Anyway, silence can be used as a weapon, I think. But it can also give you much needed distance in order to see a situation more clearly. I think, given the two choices, silence is better. At least it gives a better chance for resolution. Responding in kind can only get you more of the same. Uless, say, the other person has the patience of the dalai lama, in which case he/she wouldn't have hurt you in the first place.

Hope it helps but you've probably worked through this issue by now :)

Seraphine said...

i'm a big believer in intent. yes, we all make mistakes. we walk into telephone poles. we hurt people. we misunderstand each other.
and yes, when we hurt another, it's a black mark on our soul. but if there is a ledger that keeps track of good and bad, the black mark is only footnote.
bad is intentional affliction of pain. when you try to hurt another person, that's where the real guilt lays.
and when others hurt you, when you are forced to act (or react) in a way you wouldn't have otherwise chosen, that's a very difficult moral delemma. good and bad, right and wrong- those aren't always absolute.
sometimes the "gray areas" are harder to deal with than absolutes, because intent is often corrupted and confused by uncertainty.

Bee said...

Today I was reading a book that mentioned a tree branch that the Masai offer to someone who they've hurt in some way. Sometimes a hand-written letter/card will also help? (Even if you didn't mean to hurt the person, I think it is important to make amends.)

I don't really believe in hurting in kind; it just seems like really bad boomerang karma.

Seraphine said...

yeah, what bee said. i've sent a few of those 'i'm sorry' cards myself.
wish i had known about the branch, but maybe it's better not to give somebody who is upset at you something to hit you with.

JR's Thumbprints said...

L's are for losers, thus the typo. It's best to keep pushing on without being too analytical.

Zhu said...

Being hurt or disappointed isn't cool, but hurting someone and realizing afterward feels even worse.

Everything can be fixed with a bit of patience... (I know, following post)

Psychgrad said...

I think the point system should really take intentionality into account. It can't be a full mark against you if the intentions weren't malicious.

Though, I also think of situations when silence has really irritated me (e.g., when someone is sick and friends don't call because they don't know what to say). I think there is at least a partial negative there too -- there needs to be some accountability for being good to each other and there for each other in times of need, whether the intention was to hurt or not.

Probably not what you want to hear -- even though I don't know anything about your situation. Silence in times of need are something that irritate me (even though I'm guilty of it myself).