I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve hurt some people in the past. Not that I intentionally set out to hurt them, but just in the course of me going about, doing my thing. Concerned only about what I wanted and felt with little regard for the feelings of others and the consequences of what I considered to be “my business.”

Here’s the thing: we won’t always know the long term effects of our “little transgressions”. How our sometimes stupid and selfish acts alter the courses of people’s, too often our friends’, lives. But we do recognize when the relationships have been irreparably damaged.

Sadly, we don’t always have the luxury of making things up to folks. Fixing matters isn’t always an option: what’s done is done. Sometimes you just have to carry the weight of your bad decisions and selfishness and hopefully let them shape you into a better person. Even our mistakes have value, if it leads to a transformation of who you are and what you do.

The folks you hurt may not ever see the person you’ve become or tried to become because of your past mistakes. But you’ll always carry the memory of the hurt you caused. It may not always be a fresh kind of memory–where you can perfectly picture the damage you inflicted and some days will be better than others–but it’ll always be a part of you.

Good.

Danny DeVito’s character in the movie The Big Kahuna put it this way: “I’m saying you’ve already done plenty of things to regret, you just don’t know what they are. It’s when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you’ve done, and you wish that you had it do over, but you know you can’t, because it’s too late. So you pick that thing up, and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, the world will spin without you, you really don’t matter in the end. Then you will gain character, because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.”

If we can’t go through life doing our best to love one another, then the least we can do is try and go through life trying to cause as little damage as possible. And have fewer causes of regrets.