A person from my past, with whom I’m have not kept in touch, sent me an email today, apologizing for being mean to me when we were in our teens. It was an act of generosity and integrity. I urge us all to do the same. This is the sort of pass-it-on behavior that can change the world. Think back to someone you were mean to. In the sandbox. At camp. In the classroom. At a birthday party. At a fraternity party. At a PTA meeting. At work… Get to the bottom of it in your heart. Did they scare you? Did you feel wronged by them? Threatened? Did you see something in them that you loathed about yourself? Did they hold up a mirror for you in a way that was too hard to bear? What kind of pain were you in at the time? How did it feel to be mean? Not so good.
Now go find their email address and tell them you’re sorry. I have passed on this gift today, and while at first I couldn’t think of a specific incident– of really being mean to somebody, after I got real with myself, I thought of a few people I’m sure I hurt along the way. And I reached out to them. It felt like coming out of a cool lake. For both of us. Thank you, then, to this old friend and her morning email. For her generosity of spirit. She didn’t have to do it. But she did. That’s what really makes the world go ’round.