As a kid, I liked making sand castles in the school playground. Of course, a bully liked to kick sand castles and he kicked mine. I stopped making sand castles.
I didn’t tell you this to feel sorry for me. His life was sad. As he grew up he continued to be aggressive towards others and had few friends. Research shows that people who abuse others usually come from troubled households. One of the things that I recently learned is that people who sexually abuse others have a history of physical, emotional, or neglect abuse growing up. They hurt others because they were hurt. It doesn’t make it justified, but it does make it understandable.
What I learned as a child is that no matter how unfair life has been to you, taking it out on others is stupid and hurts you more. That guy who kicked my sand castle I saw him grow up to be an angry and hateful man. He never enjoyed the close friendships that I did, nor have the vulnerability to have people care about him and be able to help others. Many people in my life hurt me, but ultimately they were hurt more themselves. How could I do anything but feel pity for that?
In life, we can destroy the joy that other people have by being selfish and thoughtless. When we feel frustrated that is the time that our character is forged. We always can hurt others, but we never have the right to. I’ll give you another example.
There was a very smart kid who I was friends with in the sixth grade. He was socially awkward, and ugly but very smart. Often we would talk and he said the most incredible insightful and funny things. A few years later he became a jerk and used his intelligence to hurt others as many smart kids did. He wasn’t satisfied with just emotionally hurting people so he branched out to fighting and hurting others physically as well.
Now it is high school and he is a class A jerk. We are in a few classes and it is senior year and we haven’t been friends for a long time. He would verbally insult me and I would forgive him because growing up is hard, and in a small town it is harder. One day he surprised me by being nice. He asked nicely if I could borrow him something to write with, and of course, I gave him his choice. The rest of the year he continued to treat me nicely and I was able to show him a little kindness. We talked a little bit and I understood why he was this way. He dealt with people who were so slow and stupid compared to him and that had to be frustrating I could imagine.
I don’t know what happened to these people now, but I would like to hope that they grew and that they found some peace, acceptance, and forgiveness for the difficulties they had in their lives. When someone is a jerk to you, they are first a jerk to themselves and everyone around them. Don’t be mad, feel compassion for them.