Years ago, I had a friend who was discussing with me how everyone seems to take everything personally these days. Keep in mind, this was before the advent of social media, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
This guy had been my friend for a long long time, and we always had deep and stimulating conversations; I would even call them mentally nourishing. We liked to think deeply about things, to allow ourselves to feel life in a positive way, to strengthen our love for others, and to better ourselves. We were connected to nature, but not in a crazy I’m-going-to-strap-myself-to-a-tree way. There was a lot of self-love and self-realization that I went through during those years as I gained more self awareness through our discussions and experiences.
No, we did not do drugs.
Anyhoots. During this one particular conversation, as I mentioned above, we both decided that from then on, our motto was going to be, “Stand Un-Offended.” We both realized that there are so many diverse peoples, interests, religions, etc etc, in life, that it was impossible to make any kind of fair comparison between us and our fellow men. If someone decided to dislike something that I held very dear, in my commitment to Stand Un-Offended, I decided that I wouldn’t let it mar the waters of my calm and self-worth.
This all sounds very simplistic and perhaps even banal. It sounds obvious, right?
But then I must ask, why? Why are people constantly getting offended or taking everything personally? Why has Netflix recently renounced the use of the words “Chick Flick,” in categorizing their titles?
I am curious- how did this come about? What is so wrong with that title? I realize that I could get a barrage of answers on this one, ranging from sexual identity, to sexism, to feminism, etc… but still. If YOU don’t like the term Chick Flick, then don’t use it. Period. Does the rest of the world have to comply with your ideas/thoughts/feelings/wishes?
It seems that everywhere you go, especially in the virtual world, anyone that has anything to say publicly has to be VERY careful about how they say it, for fear of offending someone. How have we gotten to this point when something so small like a nickname or stereotype can get us all in a fluster, put a bee in our bonnet, or twist up our undergarments?
Why get offended in the first place? What benefit does this have to you?-except to demand that others accede to your idealism? But for what? Are we so focused on the idea that everyone NEEDS to have the same opinions about something that we are going to completely discount the beauty of individualism? We are ALL different, for a REASON. If everyone was the same, with the same beliefs, cultures, tastes, …the world would be a pretty damn boring place.
My friends and I were discussing where we should meet for lunch recently. I made a suggestion for a restaurant, and one of my friends said, “Not to offend you, but I hate that place.”
My response was, “I don’t get offended. It’s just a waste of my time.”
She said, “I like your attitude.”
That was IT. No arguing, no problems, no hurt feelings because someone dissed my suggestion. Holy smokes, but it’s THAT easy!
Let’s be honest. If we truly want to find ourselves offended all the time, we have plenty of material. You don’t believe in my religion? – I’m offended. You don’t believe in same-sex marriage?-I’m offended. You don’t like it that I devour the flesh of animals?-I’m offended. You don’t believe that satan is real?-Holy smokes, AM I OFFENDED.
Let’s examine our motives for becoming offended, shall we? Again, what does it contribute to ourselves, our lives, and our well being? I would dare suggest that it doesn’t contribute anything to ourselves except a general sense of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It’s the constant HMPH! attitude. Lame, lame, lame. Yes, I just called it lame. Are you offended?
Maybe we could all take a step back… take a deep breath, and realize that difference is beautiful. We don’t all have to be the same or believe the same things. Everyone is touting the word “Tolerance!” but who is actually practicing it? Whether you believe you are right about something or not, doesn’t make it an exact truth. There are too many diversifying options for an absolute truth. Unless it’s something factual, like the sky is blue. And if someone says the sky is azure, or aquamarine, don’t get offended!
Also, if someone starts to badmouth something you love, or esteem of worth? Yes, that’s a perfectly acceptable excuse to get offended.
DON’T DO IT. Just don’t. Stand un-offended, because the only person they can really hurt with their toxicity is themselves. They can only hurt you if you let them.
Don’t let them.