Self Offender


We must take full responsibility

for being offended

by another




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.


Contradiction #8

Other people are not a source of peace or happiness;

but something deeper –

an experience of ourselves.

Yet, without other people,

we may not experience peace or happiness.

~ Kelly Hartland

Contradiction #2

In order to clean anything up –

you must first make a bigger mess of it.

~ Kelly Hartland

Deep feelings

If to take offence

is 10% actuality and 90% actualised fear –

who is the offender?

~ Kelly Hartland


The hard knocks in life

can give us our strongest

and most striking features.

~ Kelly Hartland

Unexplored terrain

There are endless journeys,

discoveries and mountains to conquer –

just within yourself!

~ Kelly Hartland

Mirrored Window

What if A Window Was A Mirror?

I would see me, adorned and adorning; projecting.
I would see this as a form of imprisonment – like
my addiction to identity, consumerism, or trying to appease my God; not knowing
if it’s His voice, or just mine.

Would I notice, and therefore feel frustrated, that I can never
truly understand myself – knowing there are parts of me and my life
I can never access?

I am a mystery beyond my comprehension.

If I did know this about myself, would I then know that if I can barely
comprehend my entirety – how can I judge myself?
How can I judge you?

This mental illumination would then show hypocrisy in the shadows of me, of us –
that would be okay wouldn’t it? To cast light within?
To be honest with myself, and have myself be honest with me; this would be the beginning.

What If A Mirror Was A Window?

Would I see possibilities within me?

Would I see me forgiving another, before seeking an apology?

Would I see that virtue is more than the act of giving, but is,
the act of giving in secret?

Would I see that all conflict is the direct result of control?
Would I feel prompted to ask myself, ‘who is trying to control whom in this moment of conflict?’

Would I see that conforming to the convictions of another,
is to deviate from my own?

Would I see the selfishness in not living up to my full potential?

Would I not see how focusing on my own drama’s is me procrastinating?

If I could see all of this, would I not also see how every time I feel offended
by another, it is actually me offending myself through the lips of another? My fears
unwilling to be recognised; wanting to wear a mask.

Then I see that self-evaluation will douse all fire of contempt.

I see that life is an enigma, and when I try to piece it together; it crumbles
into reality.

I notice now that I am looking into a window, a window that is dim with reflection;
and I see humility.

~ Kelly Hartland

Colour in the grey

When one accepts great pain into one’s heart

and allows it to meld with grace,

the heart is then primed to comprehend all nuances of feeling –

feelings worthy of celebration.

~ Kelly Hartland