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I know that that self-realization is the cornerstone of growth. I know that it's good to find out more about yourself than you previously knew. But dammit, why does it have to be so hard sometimes?

I have, in my life, been generally honest with people. I've tried to give them my honest opinions without holding back and you know, maybe I've been too honest.

I have prided myself on my candor, not realizing that it very easily could have come off as injurous to those I "gifted," with my insight. I used to think that true honesty was very rarely given, and what most of us really wanted.

Maybe I was wrong. A friend of mine just made a comment to me this morning that made me realize that I'm not as tough as I though I was. It was a simple thing, really; just enough to know that people whom I cared about had made . . .well, less than salutory remarks about this journal. A few years ago, I would have shrugged it off; probably even chuckled about it.

But for some reason, it hurt. For some reason it sat in the pit of my stomach and churned and pitched and bit like an angry dog. There's no reason for me to take this so badly. I care very deeply about these people and I would never in a million years let anything this petty affect our friendship.

And you know, I have to reconsider my own actions over the last couple of years.

How many people have I hurt like this? How many friends did I think I was helping and all the while I was slipping the knife in instead?

It's strange: I'm always surprised and hurt when I find out that someone doesn't like me. It's an easy thing to blow it off with a "So what," but that's a cop-out.

So, for all of you out there that I may have hurt in this manner, I'm sorry. I didn't know that something so small could hurt so badly.

I'll try not to hurt you in the future.

And you know, I'm beginning to wonder if aging has a part to play in this realization. They say that men get more emotional the older they get and maybe that's what's happening here. I don't know. But what I do know is that things that would have never bothered me five years ago send me into deep funks now. I just don't get it.

Maybe I'm just not quite as big of a bastard as I once thought I was.

Nah. That's not it.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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