There are people in my life whom I’ve wronged. And there are people of course, who have done wrong by me. Do I need apologies from everyone? Nope. But there are a few events that remain unresolved, things that were said to me or actions that were taken against me that I’ve had to just put aside, and move away from, because they will not be made right. And I remember those people, I remember them none too fondly.
Sadly, there are things I’ve done as well. There are people who caught me at the wrong time, when I wasn’t quite far enough outside of myself to know my own impact. There are people in my life who were not treated well by me, and who probably still bear me some type of grudge.
There was a time, in my early twenties, when I was well-known in my community. I owned a few businesses that were pretty cool – nightclubs, clothing shops, coffee shops and record stores. It was at this time that I had no awareness at all about my impact on people. Instead of reaching out a welcoming hand to those around me, I sort of cultivated this “cooler-than-you” attitude. I created a community where those who were in with me were “in”, and those who didn’t have the good luck of being on a first-name basis with me knew they were just visiting our good times. Maybe this is just part of being young, capricious youth and all that. But I look back on those years with a lot of regret – I wish I would have been the person in the community who made people feel welcome the moment they peeked in on what was going on. I wasn’t awful to everyone, and have heard from people that there were things I did that positively affected them, and for those people, I am so grateful. But there are so many ways I could have reached out to more people – could have helped them be more safe, have more fun, feel more accepted. I regret my mean-girl attitude of those days.
There are relationships I was in where I wasn’t at my best. Guys who I treated poorly, took advantage of, and took for granted. Again, I can chalk part of these actions up to not really knowing better, being new to the world of adult relationships and love. But there were many times where I did know better, but put my own whims way ahead of the things I knew were the right things to do. To pretty much everyone who dared to date me from the age of 18 – 26, I’m sorry you were part of my learning curve. I know better now – and hope you’ve had better luck in love than when you were with me.
And now in the present, I still am learning. My aim is to get to a point where the way I interact with people around me only has positive effects. Still, there are so many situations presented where people can be made to feel less-than,where those who are not comfortable in their own skin can be made to feel even less comfortable, and where misunderstandings lend themselves to a great place to start a fight. My recent navel-gazing sessions have given me some perspective on these pitfalls, though. Being loud and right isn’t always rewarding. Making someone feel the fool because they hold different priorities isn’t always redeeming. And holding a consensus on other people’s mistakes is begging for the same to be done to you.
These are lessons I’ve been learning my whole life. These are the lessons of things I would do differently. These are the lessons I’d like to teach to my son(s) before they every have the chance to regret how they’re hurt someone. They’ll have to learn on their own, I know, through their own experiences. But isn’t it true that as parents we have the largest impact on our children to by modeling behavior rather than giving it lip-service? I think so. Is there anything you’d do differently? Is there anything you’d like to change now? I’d love to hear it.