If I ran over your foot with my car...
does the reason why make any difference to how badly your foot is broken?
This is a question my once-upon-a-time best friends used to lob at me because of my tendency to be concerned about the “why” of someone’s actions. And of course, no. If you ran over my foot with your car – and broke it – the reason that happened would not change how badly my food was broken. This is true.
But here’s the thing….
If my best friend just ran over my foot with their car, my broken foot would not be my top concern. “WHY?” would be my top concern. WHY did my best friend just cause me such pain? What was going on that the person I would least expect to hurt me just did, in fact cause me great pain.
Why would matter. Yeah, the broken bones? They matter. They for sure need to be fixed. I in no way mean to suggest the very real and very practical problem of the broken foot isn’t a problem. By all means, let’s get right on that.
But my best friend just used a potentially deadly weapon on me. I’d kinda like to get to the bottom of that.
And, yes, that’s also a priority, and no, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to care about.
Let’s take one extreme: My best friend was actually trying to kill me and missed. They hit my foot instead.
On the other extreme, at the last moment, my best friend was distracted or otherwise impacted by the small child, dog, cat, or other creature in their car, and it was a total accident, and they absolutely did not intend me any harm.
Those reasons…. They matter, yeah?
It would be good to know which it was before the next time I was alone with my best friend; don’t you think?
Maybe I came running out after they started the car, and they didn’t even know I was there.
Maybe they were watching a video on their phone and were being criminally careless.
Maybe there was a wasp in the car, and they freaked out.
Maybe they were mad at me and meant to scare me but not actually hurt me.
These all make a huge difference. You didn’t even realize I was there? That’s a whole other thing from you were trying to scare me. What the actual FUCK?
So. I hurt you. Or you hurt me.
Maybe I forgot something important. Maybe you said something in anger. Does the intent change the hurt? Does my “just forgetting” make your hurt any less? No, of course not, and might make it worse because it makes you feel like you’re not a priority to me. Does your loss of control make me hurt any less? No. And it might make me hurt worse, because sometimes I think the loss of control makes the truth come out.
But I’m not asking – or trying to explain – “why” because of any misguided belief that it will make the hurt better. “I didn’t mean to hurt you” doesn’t make the pain go away, and I don’t have any illusion it does.
But let’s be very honest here. “I DID mean to hurt you,” does, in fact, make the pain worse. Intent matters.
You ran over my foot with your car. You better damn well believe I want to know why.
I am .Worthy, Deserving, Enough I have .Value I deserve .Respect, Kindness I am .Worth as much as a cat I am .Amity