Monday, April 11, 2011

I am not easily offended. Are you?

I touched on this in an earlier post, but this is something that certainly has been bothering me for a while.

It seems like if someone disagrees with something I've said, they take offense with me.

Now, to be clear, I have not said anything that is actually offensive, just something that they don't happen to agree with.

Could be religious / spiritual in nature, or political, or even just some random item, like, say my personal priorities, how I prioritize my work, or some random observation.

That's right, someone at work recently got personally offended, like really super-duper upset, like "can-we-talk-this-out-because-I-don't-want-it-to-affect-our-relationship" upset, because I prioritize my responsibilities differently than they do.
No really. They got that upset because I didn't adopt their priority system. Because I see things differently. Because I disagreed.

I did not berate them, insult them, humiliate them, etc. When they insisted I do it their way, I declined politely, and explained why. And this, to them, was horribly offensive and insulting.

But I really shouldn't have been surprised. I see it everywhere.

It's as if difference is no longer tolerated. In our society that supposedly focuses on celebrating differences, what they really mean is trying to make sure we're all exactly the same.

I am not at all offended when people disagree with me. They have every right to think it & to say their thoughts. Even though I disagree. But I am not offended. Not one tiny bit. As long as they are respectful, or even just neutral, in their delivery, then what is offensive about it?

Honestly - religion, politics, economics, what-not - I don't really understand why people get offended, or feel disrespected, because others don't agree with them. To be offended or feel disrespected simply because we disagree, even on very important life topics? I just don't understand.
I've recently come to realize that I'm tired of censoring myself. Really am.

Yeah, some of you are probably thinking "what? you censor yourself?" Ha!

Yeah, I really do. There's so much that I haven't said for fear of hurting someone's feelings, or for being seen as "offensive"

Lately, it seems like I can't voice my opinions on anything without someone getting offended.


Why are you offended?

So you don't agree with me? So what?!? Why is it offensive to you that I don't agree with you? Why is that disrespectful?
What I think is really funny is that the responses that I often get privately for something I've said publicly tend to state that I'm saying what everyone else is afraid to say. Why? Why are others afraid to say it? Ever heard of freedom of speech? I'm not saying anything hateful or hurtful, I'm simply stating my beliefs, or thoughts, or opinions. Heck, sometimes, stating statistics & facts and people have gotten up in arms.

If you find MY personal opinions & beliefs offensive to YOU, then I'm gonna suggest that you have your own issues that you need to deal with, and that maybe it's not my problem at all.

Here's one for you: why is it that it's okay for you to be offended & disrespected when I say what I think, but I'm supposed to listen to what you think and just & smile and be okay?
Why is that? Do I agree with you? No. So.... what? I can be offended with you then? Upset? Angry? Hurt?

No? I'm supposed to just listen to you and not & smile and maybechange my mind and agree with you?

Oh, c'mon! That's not realistic. Or fair. And you know it.
If I have truly disrespected you - hurled an insult your way, called you a name, cursed your existence - then fine, be offended.
Have I?
What did I do?
I stated my personal beliefs or opinions.

Did I try to force you to think the same way? Did I hold a gun to your head? Drag you to my chosen place of worship? Pull you into a voting booth & force your hand to mark for my preferred candidates? As you to change your work method? Did I... even ASK that you believe what I believe or think what I think?
So what did I do again?
I stated my personal beliefs or opinions.

Did I ask that you keep your mind open to what I believe / think? Maybe.

Have I suggested in the past that certain groups of people are closed minded because they won't even consider my point of view? Yes, but then again isn't that the definition of closed-minded?

So, wait, what did I do again?

I stated my personal beliefs or opinions.
And that offends you.


I stated my personal beliefs and opinions.

And you find that disrespectful.

All I can say is that I'm starting to realize that that reaction - the finding of everything that is contrary to you to be offensive or hurtful - that reaction is not my problem, is not my issue.

And I have realized that I need to make sure I raise my daughter to be the kind of person that respects the fact that everyone has different thoughts, opinions, and beliefs and can gracefully handle disagreements without taking everything so personally.

And that is all. For now.


BlazinMama said...

All I can say is..Amen!

Jenna Hatfield said...

I was really kind of shocked that people got so personally pissed off at something I posted last week. If you don't like it, move on! It's that easy. I didn't get offended until they started the finger-pointing nastiness.

Keep on being yourself. The world is better for it.

FireMom at Stop, Drop & Blog.

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