Yesterday, something happened. Someone posted a picture on Instagram of the Carve the Mark cover art painted on their arm, which triggered a lot of people. People asked this person to remove the picture, because it hurt them, and this person didn’t handle that very well. This is not a blog post all about that (that’ll come, I promise), but this is a post about what to do if someone tells you you’ve hurt them.
I didn’t think I’d ever have to make a post like this, because I think it’s quite clear what you should do, but as we’ve seen yesterday, not everyone knows. So, I’m here to give you some advice on what to do if you’ve been called out.
It’s quite simple really, and I’ve made a very simple 5 step ‘program’ for you.
Look at what people are saying about the thing you’ve posted. What is it that hurt them? Why has it hurt them?
The thing you’ve posted has caused people harm. You don’t want to cause more people harm, right? So, delete it.
Apologize to the people you’ve harmed. You can either post a general apology, but apologizing to everyone individually is even better. Yes, this might take a bit more time, but you’ve hurt these people and they all deserve an apology.
Learn from what happened. Take everything people said to heart, and don’t forget it. (Or as we say in The Netherlands: knoop het goed in je oren!)
- Change your behavior.
This goes hand in hand with step 4. You have now learned what it is that hurt people, and now you can make sure things like this won’t happen again.
“But I didn’t mean to hurt anyone!”
That’s good. It’d have been very shitty if you did this thing just to hurt someone. BUT, the fact that you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, doesn’t mean people aren’t hurt. Let’s look at it this way: if you accidentally stepped on someone’s toes, you would’ve apologized too, right? Even if you didn’t mean to step on this person their toes, the person is still in pain and deserves an apology. The pain you’ve caused people might not be physical, but their emotional pain is just as valid.
“People are bullying me!!!!”
Asking someone to remove a certain thing because it hurt them isn’t bullying. Not at all.
“This thing didn’t hurt me, so…”
Stop right there. The fact that it might not have hurt you, doesn’t mean that other people won’t be hurt by it. Every person’s feelings are different.
“But I put so much work in it!!”
Doesn’t matter. You still hurt someone, and the fact that you’ve put a lot of work in it doesn’t change that.
I really hope this might help some of you, and I really hope something like what happened yesterday won’t happen again.