Trying to not hurt someone

I shouldn’t hurt others.

This is a very helpful pointer, and I am happy to have it in my life. But when it is made into a belief, it gets distorted and causes problems.

When I believe I shouldn’t hurt others, I often end up hurting them by avoiding the truth (white lies), being subtly patronizing (you can’t take the truth, so I will make it easier for you), or letting a situation continue beyond what my integrity tells me is appropriate. I am out of integrity and end up hurting the other person, myself, and perhaps others involved in our lives in different ways.

Believing that I shouldn’t hurt others is sometimes exactly how I hurt others.

What is the solution? To be direct, kind, and tactful, when that is called for.

This is really about priorities. When I prioritize not hurting over truth, I get in trouble. And when I prioritize truth over not hurting, and do so in a more skillful and kind way, it benefits all of us.

And there is always room for improvement, always more to learn, further to go.


– have a belief, “I shouldn’t hurt someone”
– then end up hurting b/c is dishonest, patronizing, etc. (ends up hurting the other person, and yourself when you realize it)
– often worse than direct, kind, tactful
– prioritize, truth – when need to be said – over not hurting, and do it in a kind way


What needs to be said and done is partly subjective. I can find guidance from being receptive to the situation, my own heart, my integrity, and what the situation and my heart/integrity seem to call for. And then relating to this and acting from it from experience, and with as much insight and kindness is here. There is always room for improvement in all of these areas. There is nothing to defend, and no need to defend any of it. Just receptivity.

It is painful to recognize how I hurt others, including when I do it in this way. And that pain is my motivation to notice what is happening, find what feels better for me, and shift in that direction.

One thought to “Trying to not hurt someone”

  1. Thank you for this posting. I’ve sometimes struggled with attempting to change my truth in order to care for others. Such a helpful insight that this doesn’t serve anyone! Thank you. Especially appreciate the “you can’t handle the truth” insight. Helps me better understand my strong pull towards authenticity and Radical (yet compassionate) Honesty.

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