A pink flower that has fallen apart.

What Happens If I Have Harmed Someone?

If you have hurt someone in your life, you know that it can be a difficult to admit that you have caused injury to another person. Often individuals will instead get angry or defensive as you try to rationalize your own behaviour or are confused about the situation, but this can cause even more harm.

If you have harmed and are being told that you have harmed, stop and listen. Take the opportunity to learn and better yourself. In lieu of justifying your actions, try channeling your energy into understanding the other person’s perspective.

It can be acknowledged that sometimes the person who you have hurt might not have called you out in the best way either. Sometimes aggressive tones or language can be used that can make you feel overwhelmed or less receptive to what they have to say. Again, remember that they have been hurt, and may also engulfed in emotions. You should never use this anger as a justification for not listening to them or devaluing their opinion. 

If you have harmed someone you know or love, it can honestly be harder as the hurt and pain might be deeper. However, it can also offer more compassion and patience on the road to re-building the relationship.

Remember that your mistakes do not define you as a person. It takes a honorable person to admit the harm you have caused and to apologize for everything you have done without making any excuses. Think about next steps in terms of changing attitudes, behaviours, and actions that you can make and work on.

Resources:

Creative Interventions Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Stop Interpersonal Violence

Getting Called Out: Why Acknowledging Oppression Matters More Than Your Hurt Feelings

Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding


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