To Be or Not to Be, Offended.
(or how it may be given, it’s not a gift & I’m not taking it)
💥 Time is going so fast, not even slowed down by a pandemic in my opinion. Quite the opposite really, it seems to have accelerated it to a speed my mind can’t even comprehend. Where once my working days seem to pass in one big blur, this last – pandemic – year has come and gone seemingly in a blink of an eye.
💥 I have been reading a lot since I basically gave up watching anything television related, and even though the stuff I’m reading is mostly of the lighthearted kind, just like in a lot of movies, some truths can be found in simple words. Last week I read the statement, I quote: ‘… Color is a language, a statement…’ and it’s with that in mind I chose the name for my blog, it just seemed so perfectly put into words how I feel about colors. It also confirms my personal believe colors do actually stand for something substantial, like our personalities and moods – which I may have briefly talked about before. At this point I have written enough articles to not be entirely sure anymore 🙄
💥 However, when I Tweeted the quote, I got a reaction I did not expect at all, when somebody replied with, I quote: ‘So does that mean racism is gibberish?’ My first thought? ‘WOW, that’s NOT what I was referring to at all!’ and to be honest, I had no idea anybody could take it that way either, because How? But they did and it took me some time to calm down before I even replied, because reply I will, not letting anybody think I would approve of thoughts that would in anyway encourage racism. It had me slightly offended at first and thinking the rest of the week though.
💥 We all know it’s pretty easy to misunderstand text, especially when there’s no clear context provided. I would be the first to feel offended 🤐, although I do try not to take stuff too personal, some things just hit me in the gut. It’s a trait I am aware of and I guess the reason why I force myself to calm the heck down first. Giving myself time to respond in an ‘adult’ way and not let my initial offense – read: emotions – speak for me, making things personal and most of the times, ugly. Did I feel offended because I was hurt by the mere idea someone could accuse me of a neglectful attitude towards racism? Why though? I knew that wasn’t my intention at all. The offered ‘suggestion’ was nowhere near my beliefs and principles.
💥 I can be offensive if I Want To, though that’s not the preferred way of action in life for the people around me. But I can also be offensive without having the intention to offend or even being aware of it. The same goes the other way around too, when I am the receiver, but the question is: Do I TAKE Offense? And if yes, WHY? Because it’s a choice I – most likely unaware – make myself, lead by how I’m feeling, or let’s say, my mood, at that particular moment. As much as I love to be lead by my heart/feelings, I have to be aware sometimes my head makes for better decisions. Yeah…
💥 Now let’s just assume, for the sake of this article 😉, we all take offense from time to time – I know, you’re probably above all this, but humor me plz. ‘To TAKE Offense’, means we’re the ones on the receiving end, because it was Given, but it’s Not A Gift: we TOOK it. One description I found: ‘When I take offense at something anyone says or does, I feel upset, often unnecessarily, because I think they are being rude to me, which is not their intent.’ so ehm, sometimes it’s not so obvious people are not out to get me right? Another simpler, description could be: ‘Feeling hurt by, or taking insult from, something someone said or did to me’, though that might be a bit shortsighted…
💥 The intention behind the words or actions I may have counted as offensive, certainly play an important role. Though an emotional response is not always held back – trying to be human you know – the moments I do take some time – count to 10 or 100 in my case, if you will – I could be surprised by the outcome. Not everybody communicates the exact same way I do – fortunately – and there are definitely days I can be short-tempered. Doesn’t really help either. Furthermore, the person who assumedly offended me, might just be having a bad day too. It’s an absolute joy when both of us are sharing the same mood at the same time, fireworks in the making for sure. This is where ‘No Offence’ may come in handy…
💥 Am I not allowed to feel offended then? Well, sure, when people throw dumb**s things at me, with a clear intent to hurt or put me down, yeah I feel I’m allowed – though selective hearing is something to seriously consider as a useful attribute sometimes 😅. The next step would be how to handle my response though. Angry reactions will likely fuel a very heated discussion, not always a bad thing, but I am thoroughly aware I can lose myself easily and things might get out of hand leading to nothing constructive. But sometimes you gotta break it down without breaking someone’s face, even if so desired. I wish I could say I’m always the wise one, but ehm, nope. Hindsight is 2020, again.
💥 It can be enormously tiresome to have to deal with someone who’s made it their life mission to be offended every 5 minutes. If you ever had a colleague or someone close to you, like that, I wish you strength and wisdom. Let me throw in some patience too for good measure. Understanding why some people consistently behave that way helps a bit. People who get easily offended are often struggling with either low self-esteem and/or, a lot of insecurities and they’re compensating by ‘attacking’, since that seems to be the best defense. It might make them feel they averted the direct attention from themselves to their ‘opponent’, hence disguising their lack of confidence. They might rather ‘win’ a discussion, than actually be right about anything.
💥 Their feeling of inferiority makes them feel ‘everybody is against them’ and will put anything anybody says in a bad light. It might make them feel everybody is just reminding them of said inferiority, even if that’s not the case at all. A lot of things happen only in our mind you know and if my mind is telling me I am ‘not as good as anyone else’, it takes a good fight to overcome that. Mind over matter, but in the best way, I talked about it before. When you’re young, I hope you can overcome this, maybe with help of someone close or even professional help, because taking this with you into adulthood is not making life easier. I will however tell you right now: You Are Worthy! 💖 But you have to believe it yourself.
💥 How to deal with someone like that on a daily bases? It’s tough, because you might feel like you have to watch every word coming out of your mouth, but it’s never good enough anyway. You may feel like you’re being pushed away, while that person actually needs a good friend to trust and let their feelings out. Then again, this would only work if the person in fact is aware of needing this. If this is not the case – which happens all too often unfortunately – it gets even worse when you feel you’re the one who needs to step away, in hopes of avoiding getting into arguments leading nowhere, every day. To be honest, they can get on your nerves if you allow them to and sometimes taking a step back is the wise thing to do. I already mentioned I am not always that person unfortunately.
💥 Obviously Communication is KEY, as always. You could try a couple of ‘simple’ options, which might not work all that well. For example, saying things like: ‘Don’t be silly, you cannot be offended by this’, or: ‘There’s nothing wrong with what I said, everybody thinks I’m hilarious’ or taking it a step further – and oh so understandable as mentioned above! – just leave the person standing, because their not worthy of your time and effort anyways. Yeah, sometimes, especially after repeated behavior without any chance of seeing progress, I’ll just go. Sorry-not-sorry 😳 Though I think the worst thing you could do, is just let the ‘offender’ have their way, talk you down and feel bad about yourself afterwards. No Thank You. Mind you, I’m still talking about easily offended people, not the incidental occurrences, although same rules may apply there…
💥 Better options might be – and I’m still learning myself! – is to try and find out what it was you said/did, to offend and listen to their point of view about the topic. You might have touched a particular sensitive personal subject, you don’t know about. Give them a chance to explain: are they just startled or really offended? Might help them to recognize the difference too. You still don’t have to agree, but at least there’s a conversation which you might refer to on a later – similar – occasion. Communication is key and misunderstanding can be a lock. Me and my smart mouth do not always agree on things, and sometimes I do have to take some time before I speak, as to not lock something for good.
💥 My experience with easily offended people has not been overly positive however. Occasionally I got surprised after some good clarifying conversation, but I have to admit, that most of those people I had to deal with are stuck in their ways. Referring back to knowing where their behavior may come from, it’s often hard, or should I say almost impossible, to convince them they really don’t have to act this way all the time. Convincing, by the way, being something I, as a mere human being, have not under my control 😌 It’s all about the choices they make. People need to first understand they do have a choice in this. Unfortunately it’s very easy to cut off any chance of conversation by saying: ‘That’s just how I am’. A healthy balance is always possible, however, if you’re dealing with someone truly toxic, I think stepping away is still the best option.
💥 How do I stop myself from taking offense? Well, you could go for the old-fashioned counting to calm yourself down and think about what was said. Then you can of course try to invalidate the offensive point of view, by explaining what you actually mean, which I did with mentioned reply to my Tweet. It worked out ok, but some situations can be more difficult. Try to understand WHY the person is offensive, or is it actually constructive criticism? Again, understanding makes it easier to accept things – not to be confused with agreeing! If the person is an acquaintance, the offense might not be a surprise, but you still would want to deal with it properly. Maybe try to explain what they said upset you and why, express the hope they won’t do the same thing again. All easier said than done, but at least you’ll get it off your chest and there will be no fireworks for the moment. The best thing – though maybe also the hardest: Stop Taking Things Personally – Know Thyself – No Offense Taken.
💥 By now you must have noticed all the above basically work both ways. If I look at both sides: from the eyes of the one being offended, as well as from the eyes of the one offending, most options apply the same way. It’s not that hard to grasp, if I am capable to offend – and I am 🤐 – and know for myself where it’s coming from, I can easily understand why others can be offensive to me. Do I Take It Though? It’s a choice I have to make over and over again and if I want to be that person that’s not easily offended, or better yet, doesn’t get offended at all, I need to do it right. Offense can start with a simple misunderstanding, but has the ability to lead to something festering and painful as far as relationships go. Nobody wants that. Offense may be given, it’s Not a Gift & I’m NOT Taking It.
Wishing y’all a Lovely Weekend and ehm, No Offense but, don’t TAKE anything that shouldn’t belong to you in the first place ❤