If you were to write letter of apology to someone you hurt this year, what would you write?
This was a question on Quora that really made me think. Not because I had trouble finding people I had upset in 2018 (do any of us have a problem there, ever?), but because at times, it’s so difficult to analyze situations. And it gets even difficult when you don’t even know that situations exist. Like the missing feature values in a dataset.
It can flip your entire equation.
To whom it may concern,
I know this started with a very formal greeting. But it is only because I’m unsure of whom this is going out to.
I’m sure I’ve hurt many people this year. Hurting people is inevitable. We don’t follow the Doug Fawcett life from The Good Place. Even if we did, there’s always a snail we’d end up stepping on.
There are times when I’m intentionally not at my best with people. Times when instead of helping my mother with work, I’d pretend to do some work on my computer. Times when I’d not pick up my friends’ calls because I was not in the mood to talk to anyone. Times when I’d be rude to someone just because I woke up grumpy. And times when I’d let myself down. That’s hurting too, right?
But this letter is not for any of the above. When I intentionally hurt somebody, I am aware of my actions – I am aware of the asshole I am being. And sometime in the future, I’ve always felt bad. I’ve always tried to make amends or at least acknowledge my mistake or compromise my part of the action.
I’ve tried to get more into helping my mother, call back my friends to ask them how they’re doing, control the short-temper I usually hold, and work more on myself.
But then there are people I’ve hurt unintentionally. Actions I didn’t even know would build a suffocatng tunnel between us. These are the worst. Here’s why it is so:
- You don’t know you’ve hurt someone
- You don’t know whom you’ve hurt
- You don’t know why they’ve been acting different suddenly
- Now they’ve hurt you by acting different, so you go to efforts to act different intentionally, and it just increments with each iteration.
That’s a broken relationship that didn’t even have to be bent in the first place. Years later, when we meet with a chance encounter and wonder why we’ve grown apart, I’ll remember you acted different and you’ll remember I acted different.
And that’s it.
We’d part ways again, both blaming each other and I wouldn’t try to make it up to you because I wouldn’t want to. Because in my eyes you had a stuck-up attitude and still do, and in your eyes, I’d have the same.
So this one’s for you – a face in the crowd. I don’t know I’ve hurt you and I didn’t mean to. It could be something that affected you a lot and maybe meant not much to me. So I’m sorry for not giving my words and actions enough thought. I’m sorry for not listening to the rings of how hurt you were.
I wish you had spoken to me about it. I wouldn’t assure you that I’d be on my best foot the day we’d talk about it, but isn’t this worth a shot?
You could be anyone and so many people together – someone from college, someone from the transport I regularly travel by, someone from the street, someone totally unexpexted, someone on some online platform we scribble and shout at each others on.
Sometimes our actions and words are just a result of what we’re battling inside and sometimes it’s just plain lack of compassion and sometimes it’s unintentional. That will never be my intention.
And it’s okay too, we’re all humans. As humans, we hurt and we get hurt. Also, it’s only human of me to apologise. I’m not apologising for what I’ve done. Yet. Bacause I don’t know what I’ve done to hurt you. But what I know I’m sorry for is hurting you, that wasn’t my intention.
I hope we can talk about it someday. I really do.