My first year in college, I was well loved by a guy I didn’t even know that well. He would tell me how much I meant to him and tell the whole world as well. Not to sound arrogant, but there wasn’t anything this guy, lets call him Carl, wouldn’t have done for me, only if I asked. Due to the intensity of his feelings for me, I was very quick to let him know the feelings were not mutual. He accepted my decision and tried to remain my friend. I say Carl tried because, he would occasionally tell me that he still loved me and could and would make me happy if I was to give him a chance.
One day, I was hanging out with my friends and Carl’s name came up. They laughed and giggled about Carl’s obsession with me and how they couldn’t believe a man could bare his soul in that way that He did in regards to me. I laughed right along. As the laughs progressed, someone came up with a not so bright idea for me to call Carl and tell him that I changed my mind about wanting to keep things platonic. I called him, put him on speaker phone and told him I was interested in him after all. As we all expected, he was overjoyed and told me that me calling to tell him that was the best thing that has ever happened to him. He went on and on about his feelings for me, and thanked me for giving him a chance. Did I already say he was on speaker phone so all of my friends whom he also knew could hear him open his heart to me?
A few minutes later after I got of the phone with Carl, I called him in private away from everyone and told him that everything I said to him was a joke and my decision to remain friends still stood. I also added that he was on speaker phone, just to prepare him for any jokes that might be thrown his way. To my surprise, he did not insult me, yell at me, call me names or any of the expected reactions I would have rightly deserved. He simply asked me why I did that to him and said he had to go, he didn’t even just hang up on me. I did get a long message on Facebook from our mutual friend telling me about how horrible I was to do that to Carl. Again, I very much deserved it.
I share this story because often times, especially these days, we or I tend to tie our regrets to what someone else has done to us. We talk about how we regret letting someone in and trusting them etc, etc…and friends, I’m not trying to dismiss the hurt people have caused in our lives, because it does matter. But we also should be able to talk about the hurts we’ve caused people. Not in a guilty, self-shaming, “I’m the worst person that ever lived” way but to accept the reality that, sometimes, WE ARE the people who have caused pain in other peoples lives. WE are imperfect and we hurt people
So what then are we to do with the knowledge that we too cause pain and hurt?
I can’t tell anyone what to do with their life experiences, but what I did when I found out that I was capable of hurting people was accept that I am imperfect and that it is okay to have regrets. I know we live in a world where people say, ” I have no regrets,” but some things should be regretted. Along with that I always want to be aware of the mistakes that I have made, so I’m living blindly without any regrets and not repeating them. It is also important for me to know that I too cause other people pain because I can then allow God to work out the sinful bit of me.
Have you been the one to cause others pain? what did you learn from it? Do you regret it?