Hurt and Harm

It is hard to conceive of a definition of abuse that isn't about harmful behavior. But we want to make a distinction between hurting someone and doing harm to them.

My friend, Bob, is a salesman. He makes his living meeting and greeting. But he doesn't have good oral hygiene. His breath is bad. If I tell him his breath stinks, it will hurt his feelings. If I don't tell him, it will hurt his business. So if I don't hurt him, it will harm him.

Let's make a distinction between hurt and harm and shape our behavior such that we are acting genuinely in each other's behalf, even if it is not what others may feel good about. We make our kids go to bed even when they don't want to and are hurt that we won't let them stay up and watch TV because we want what is best for them more than we want what pleases them.

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