So, what now? Learn from it, I suppose, and continue my never-ending quest to be a better human.
This feeling of having hurt someone, even accidentally, is terrible. Zero stars. Do not recommend. But that feeling is important, because it will ultimately cause lasting behavior change. If causing harm to others didn't make us feel bad, where is the incentive to change? Is that all there is to caring about other people? Are there people who never feel this way?
Maybe I don't want to know.
I do know that there are those who avoid this guilty feeling, not by changing their actions, but by denying that their actions were a problem in the first place, by taking offense to anyone drawing attention to the fact that they might have done something wrong. If you've never done anything wrong, you can't feel bad about it, right?
I can relate. My own self-image includes the assertion that I am not, in fact, a jerk. If someone provides evidence that I might be a jerk, my instinct is to resist, deny, rebut. You just don't know me well enough yet! Look at all these ways I'm not a jerk!
It takes practice to sit in that discomfort, acknowledge its presence, and see that the way through it is in realizing that we are all works-in-progress. My goal is to not be a jerk, but my actions have shown that I am not there yet. I am occasionally, unintentionally, still a jerk. Maybe I'll never completely get there, but today I have learned how to be one step closer to non-jerkitude.
I am grateful for the lesson.