Yes. It’s okay to hurt the people you love.
“Wait, what?! Did they actually say that?”
Given that part of being human is making mistakes and reacting poorly to emotionally charged situations when we’re under-resourced, hurting people is inevitable. Just as conflict is inevitable.
Often we hurt the people we care about most, our partners, parents, children, siblings, coworkers.
Believe it or not, hurting people is not a problem. The problem is failing to repair.
Relationships with people we love and care about are usually resilient and strong. They can weather a lot. Amongst the things that keep relationships healthy, perhaps the most important is repair.
So, what does it mean to repair and how do we do it?
Repair is the term used to describe the process of reconnecting and fixing a bond that has been hurt.
First we have to acknowledge the other person’s pain and our role in their pain.
Then we have to make amends. Carefully discuss and explore what happened and why and how things need to happen differently in the future. We say carefully because, well, sometimes in the process of discussing and exploring things we can get reactivated.
Then we make a promise to do our best to change our ways.
Simple, yet not so simple work we all need to be doing.
So, while you can certainly try to avoid hurting people, what’s most important is what you do after it happens.
After you fight, and after you make up, it’s always nice to dance…