We must take full responsibility
for being offended
Further reading Optional:
An aphorism, I believe, should never be completely explained and/or unveiled by the author. An aphorism is a wonderful tool to help us explore our own internal world, partly due to the aphorisms own incompleteness; allowing us to question and tease forward our own thoughts, beliefs and revelations.
However, having said this, I have decided to share some of my thoughts and inspirations behind a few of my aphorisms; just as a way of sharing. If you so choose, you can read on.
If you’ve read the ‘about’ about me then you know how obsessively I question myself.
The benefit of this, I hope, is it allows me to understand being human – perhaps.
Here is what I have learned from observing myself, especially, during traumatic moments.
Let’s see if you can or cannot relate:
Note: This does not in any way include violent or abusive offenders! I am not in any way referring to this type of offender.
The first place I go when offended by someone, who has said something un-nice in perhaps a flippant or angry way thus causing me emotional grief; is this:
I will begin by systematically desecrating their character to myself. All of their faults will rise to front of my mind to be obsessed over, thus achieving a type of defence mechanism within myself to divorce from the hurtful words.
Okay. Now what if that person were to say to me in an offensive manner ‘Kelly, you are nothing but a Tall, Fat, Black Man, who is going Bald!’ – would I be offended? I think, No. I may be a little perplexed. But I wouldn’t be offended to the depth of my core. If you’ve seen my photo you may not be able to tell, but, I am short; 5 foot… something; maybe. You may notice that: I am thin. I am white. I am female. And, at this stage in my life, I have hair on the top of my head.
So here is the cruncher – I disbelieve the potentially offensive statement. Ah, you might think. Or you might be thinking; so what; that has nothing to do with it – but let me continue dear reader.
After I have gone through the process of insulting the ‘offenders’ shirt choice to myself, and perhaps on this particular day, shared my thoughts with others – pointing out via exhaustive lengths how much better my listeners shirt choice is, compared to this offensive characters shirt choice! And if they’re a great friend they will listen, and maybe even agree 🙂
But, I have been practicing going down a foreign path – just for fun; not. And I learned this: I am most offended when I, often very deep down, believed and/or feared the offenders words, but didn’t know it – until my strong reaction was disturbingly felt.
This didn’t mean the offensive person was correct, it often just meant that deep down I believed that flavour of lie about me.
Other times the offender was correct, and I had been blind to that aspect of myself.
Both potential reasons hurt in the same way. Badly.
In order to endure this process of deep thinking, in other words; place the focus on myself and not on the offender, I had to learn to become curious. Curious about myself.
With curiosity as my friend, and buffer, I practiced becoming curious when I felt offended. I would ask myself; Am I offended because I believe what was said? (or in some cases – it was simply the attitude from a person which caused me to ‘feel’ a particular way about myself).
When I learned that I believed the statement, I would then ask myself; Is it true?
If it wasn’t true, then I had cause to become grateful to the offender for helping me face the fear; the fear which had remained hidden within myself. The offender was cause for me to notice baggage I didn’t even know I was carrying, and thus become free of it.
If it was true, then I could either embrace that hidden aspect of myself or challenge myself to grow beyond that place or behaviour.
So, now days I try to remain grateful and curious when offence comes – unless I forget, and then I have to endure that yucky feeling until I remember to challenge myself again.
Taking responsibility for my own feelings has been one of my most freeing experiences.