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Stop Hurting People

Today, I have something really simple to say; if you hurt people as you move through life, you need to stop. Entirely. Forever.

Look, I know that sometimes we hurt people just being who we are. We’re too much for some people and not enough for others. They have expectations we can’t live up to and they feel disappointed and let down. We make choices which we know are the very best we can do and some people feel hurt by our choices. It happens.

But there are people who move through life hurting other people mostly because they just can’t be bothered not to.

They feel entitled to speak and act without regard for who gets hurt because people shouldn’t be so sensitive.

They say and do things that hurt people in the name of truth or what’s right.

They to hurt people when they’ve been provoked.

They hurt people when they are irritated.

They hurt people when they are incovenienced or negatively affected by other’s behaviors.

They hurt people because it’s too much trouble not to.

They hurt people because they have their own problems to worry about.

They people because they’ve never developed self control.

They hurt people because they’ve suffered worse (and survived).

They hurt people in order to make them so uncomfortable that they will do whatever it takes to get you to stop – ie in order to get other people to meet their demands, wishes and expectations.

They hurt people because they are too busy with more important matters to be bothered. When they are sucessful, wealthy or secure, they will lavish good things on others to make up for it.

They hurt people for any and every reason imaginable – we humans have an nearly limitless capacity for self-justification – remember?

But no one is entitled to go around hurting people. No one has the right to decide for someone else what ought to be hurtful. No truth is so great that it gives you a right to hurt other people because of it. If you’re so freaking right, be happy for it, don’t take it out on some poor soul who hasn’t yet accessed your amazing grasp on truth.

No one is entitled to move through life without being provoked, irritated or inconvenienced by other humans. When it inevitably happens, it’s an expected part of being alive, not a license to lash out or be cruel. People don’t owe it to you to be always on the look out for you and your entitled self.

No one is entitled to inflict their unresolved problems, pain and lack of self control on the people around them. As unfair as it is, those thing are the full responsibility of the person they belong to to work out, discard and resolve. The rest of us don’t exist to serve as a release valve for your unresolved pain and problems.

Your fellow human beings don’t exist to meet your needs and desires. They have their own lives, with their own desires, needs and opinions which exist seperate from yours. You have no right to demand that they put aside their own lives in order to serve yours. The fact that you have to resort to hurting people in order to get your way ought to tell you that your sense of entitlement has lead you dangerously off course.

If you think you’ll have time to make up for the hurt you’ve caused later, when you’ve “arrived” at where ever you think you are going, your going to be sorely disappointed. Many of the people you hurt will not be willing to wait around that long. Those who do will be so damaged by what you’ve done on the way that your sucess will be bittersweet indeed. You will discover that you’ve been like a man who starved his family into sickness and criminality to pay for a palace for them to live in.

All of us will occassionally hurt the people around us. We’re human. It happens. But if your presence regularly brings pain into the lives of others, stop it. You’re doing it wrong. And it doesn’t matter what else you accomplish in life – whether you are wealthy or powerful or well regarded or talented or are impeccibly stylish – your life will be a waste and a bane on humanity if you don’t do whatever it takes to stop hurting people.

When you move through life spreading pain, you are not the great, important, ambitious, hard-nosed person you think of yourself as. You are in the process of becoming something subhuman, far less than you were created to be. You are in danger of becoming an object lesson – a warning for others who would follow in your footsteps. People will point to you and say to each other, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

No one lives forever. One day the good man and the evil man alike will die. And in the final review, an account of how your times was spent will be made. Many people who go through life hurting others think that when that time comes, whatever the cost ends up being, it will be worth it. Or they will be able to point to the good they did as a way to offset the hurt they caused.

But when we die, we won’t meet a judge who weighs out our lives on scales. We won’t move on into some dark realm with the memory of our past life to remind us that we had fun while it lasted. Instead, at judgment something very simple happens. We get to know the truth of our life.

We will experience for ourselves what we create with our lives. For those who spend their lives spreading joy, love, peace, comfort and healing, those things, multiplied and magnified by the effect they had in people’s lives will come back to them. Those who spend their lives spreading hurt, will receive back that hurt, multiplied and magnified by the effect it had in people’s life. All the excuses and accomplishments such people have used and gathered along the way, will provide no protection or comfort when the torrent of pain they created with their own lives comes back to them.

So if you are someone who hurts people, stop it. Do whatever it takes. Get counseling. Go to AA. Tell everyone you’ve lost your voice and observe a vow of silence until you stop yourself from hurting others. Put a few scraps of paper in your right pocket and each time you think you may have hurt someone, move one piece to your left pocket. Make it your goal to go through your days with all the scraps still in your right pocket. Stop trying to control and shape everything and everyone around you. Ask God to help you recognize what is right rather than fixating on what is wrong. Practice gratitude. Meditate. Take up a martial art to develop self-control and a healthy relationship with power.

Whatever you have to do in order to stop hurting people, do it. Make not hurting people your single minded focus. The stakes are too high for you and for everyone around you. You were made to be a blessing in this world, not a blight.

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6 thoughts on “Stop Hurting People

    • Honestly, I know someone who could read it, totally see themselves in it and disagree with the idea that they should change anything. They truly believe that the rest of the world should change to meet their standards and if people won’t or can’t, they deserve whatever they get.

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  1. Love it, and as you recently re-posted this in UR. I passed it on as well.
    My prayer is that we be image bearers. Starting with me 🙂

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  2. But how do I stop hurting people? I don’t know how. Everything I touch turns to crap, and nearly every problem in the lives of those close to me traces back to me, but they don’t see it. They still think highly of me, care about me. Try as I might to convince/show them and make things right, it makes no difference. They still care and want me around, and still have the same problems. So how do I stop hurting the people I love? I make myself sick, and I want to be the person everyone thinks I am.

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    • Honey, first off, you are not the person who this post was written for. If it was, it would hardly even occur to you that it might apply to you. Secondly, the perspective you are describing is one of the most severe and harmful symptoms of major depression. Unless you have murdered people and served them to your family for dinner, you are not the terrible person your mind is telling you you are. That’s depression’s voice. I know it anywhere. And it’s a liar. The people around you don’t love you because they hold a false idea of who you are, they love you because you are the sort of person who cares when you hurt people. But if you are the only person capable of seeing how everything is your fault and how horrible you are, it’s your vision that’s faulty, not everyone else’s. If you’d like to talk or make a plan for dealing with the liar in your head, email me. I’d be glad to help you figure out what you can do. My email is ratrotter73@yahoo.com

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