“I think you think that you can’t  hurt me when you say stuff. But when you say stuff it does hurt me. I know in the past I acted all tough and hard-headed but I’m not like that now.”

He sat on the couch in front of her and put his fist on his chest and coughed.

“I don’t know,” she said. “You used to say that nothing could hurt you, and I guess I thought that was true.”

“Well, it’s not anymore,” he replied. “You see how I’ve been lately, all emotional with the kids and with you. I see that what I’ve done has hurt a lot of other people and I’m sorry about that and I’ve been apologizing for that.”

I turned to her and asked, “Can you see that he’s been different lately?”

“I can,” she replied. “It’s like he is becoming more human.”

It’s interesting, the degrees of things, the way things change.  We are all becoming, everyday, perhaps more or less human.

What does that mean? I’m not entirely sure, except to say that part of it can be explained by the progress or regress we make emotionally. To be human is to feel —  pain, love, depression, happiness, guilt, tranquility.

To petrify emotionally is to lose our humanity. To turn to stone regarding other human’s feelings is to lose the human quality of our relationships. To grow numb, to fail to understand or care when our behaviors bring pain to others — this all is part of a process whereby we grow inhuman and inhumane.

This matters.

We must not lose the affective domain or we lose our humanity.

To be human is to be emotionally rich. To break, to soar, to break down, to take courage, to pick ourselves up and explain to someone else how we really feel — this is what it means to be an integrated person, a complete personality, a fully human being.

As long as we can be hurt then we  retain the ability to understand someone elses’ hurt.

To the extent that we can accept and honor our own emotions, then we will be able to accept and honor other people’s emotions.

Feelings feel feelings.


Be human.


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