The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself. - Shannon L. Alder
Has the whole world gone crazy and I missed it?
I honestly can't remember how or when we stopped being responsible for our own feelings and emotions - but apparently there's been a huge shift in policy!
When my children were young, they'd take turns coming to me saying things like: "So and so called me a such and such!" I'd calmly ask them "Are you a such and such?" They'd whine back "Noooo...but..."
I'd ask, "Well then, what does it matter what they call you? If they called you a horned toad, would you suddenly grow horns and crawl around on the ground?" Usually at that point there would be a little giggle with the whine in their next "No!"
I'd follow up with, "If they called you a cow, would you give milk?" At that point, seeing the silliness of their plight, the offended party would give up their righteous indignation and move on to find a bigger fish to fry.
WHY CAN'T WE ADULTS DO THE SAME THING?
Why have we become so consumed with what other people say and do - often even without ill intent? Why do we feel the need to do something about what other people say? Entire news cast are devoted to "catching" people saying something deemed by someone to be offensive. It's never been possible to compel civility before. Why do we believe it is now?
Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read. If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people. - Salman Rushdie
Why has it become incumbent upon others to manage how we feel? Why do we want to give up that much control? Once we relegate our feelings we won't need to worry about the world someday being run by machines.
WE BECOME THOSE MACHINES!
We can't legislate or force decency. Character is an inside job. There is no way to stop a person who's hell bent on being offensive so why expend so much energy trying?
There are also those people who can lift a rock and be offended by what they find under it.
Some people take offense like it's a limited time offer.
- Tim Fargo
When we find ourselves offended it's a good indicator that we're focusing only on ourselves - and that's great if we're asking ourselves important questions like: Are our own lives being lived so completely beyond reproach as to never be offensive to another? Have we personally evolved past saying or doing offensive things from time to time - with or without ill intent.
When you open your mouth, listeners are offended. When you close your mouth, the expectant are offended. If a person seeks misdoing from you they will find it regardless of whether or not you deliver.
- Richelle E. Goodrich
Are we expecting more mercy for our transgressions than we are willing to give others? Are we looking for reasons to justify our anger or resentment toward things we feel powerless over? Are we asking ourselves what does it say about ME when I feel so offended by a particular act or comment.
"Haters gonna hate." That's the long and short of it. How does our hating of their hating do anything other than add to the hating?
Anything designed to be inoffensive isn't worth your time -- life itself is pretty offensive, ending as it does with death. - Holly Lisle
Being offended is only ONE of many possible responses to a real or perceived offense. There are all kinds of ways however not to be offended. A great way is to busy ourselves with frying bigger fish! There are so many BIG fish that need frying! As long as a single person is still going to bed hungry we should be frying fish. As long as children aren't safe fish should be sizzling like crazy! As long as women - or anyone else for that matter - are being abused and denied their basic rights as human beings, there should be a huge fish fry that circles the globe and everyone should be invited!
The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.
- Salman Rushdie
Having someone hurl offensive remarks at us is outside of our control. Being offended however is a choice. Deciding to allocate time and energy to those offensive remarks is a vote to give energy to them - precious energy that could be going better places!
It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that." as if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine.
- Stephen Fry
What could happen if we spent less time concerned with political correctness and more time working for social correctness? Is monitoring political correctness giving us the feeling that we're actually doing something to change the world? Is it allowing us to justify ignoring the need to attend to other issues?
We can only be hurt once by what someone says or does but can hurt ourselves endlessly by choosing to dwell on it.
Instead of reverting back to our childhoods and running to our mommies and daddies crying "Someone called me a such and such!" why not ask ourselves: "Are we a such and such?" or "If so and so calls us a horned toads will we grow horns and crawl on the ground?" or "If they call us a cow, will we give milk?" If we can answer "No" to all of those questions, how much more energy does the name calling deserve?
If we can't answer no to the "Are you a such and such?" question, then maybe that's another fish that could use a good frying!
PHOTO CREDIT: Original Artwork by Sarah Kopp