Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting Offended

In the last few months, I've had a lot of thoughts about entitlement. We can so easily think that the world owes us something or that we are so freaking amazing that we, of course, deserve every passing whim. Mostly we equate entitlement with material possessions, life achievements, or relationships, but then listening to the radio one morning, I heard a new area of life that people definitely feel entitled to.

"No one has the right to not be offended."

We all make choices. There will always be people in the world who don't agree with our choices. There will always be people in the world who will loudly vocalize that they don't agree with our choices. Are we entitled to having our choices insulated from criticism? Nope. Whether we choose to wear floor length dresses, are gay, exercise, are a vegetarian, abstain from alcohol, party non-stop, have short hair, have long hair, worship God, worship Buddha, worship stuff or pitch all our stuff to travel the world, our choices are not exempt from other people's opinions. (side note: especially if every little thing is posted on FB, Twitter, blogs & the moon, expect to get some offensive feedback)

Then on the flip side, I started noticing the "watchdog" groups that can't wait to get offended (remember Don Imus?). The Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Muslims, modesty groups, feminists, LGBT, academia, unions, sports nuts, etc. all watch each other and end up sitting around just WISHING to be offended about something. There's no better way to complicate life & invite unnecessary drama than to sit around asking to be offended. Besides, it instantly puts us in the role of the victim.

There's a balance between expecting 100% acceptance and expecting confrontation. First, be careful where information is spread and absorbed. If you aren't ready for critical feedback, don't put anything out there and don't expose yourself to groups or people you know can easily offend you. When offended, it's time to evaluate:
  • Was this healthy criticism that can help me or is it nastiness for the sake of being nasty?
  • If I started it, was my original statement intended to offend or make fun of someone?
  • Why did this offend me?
  • Waaaahh! I feel bad! Help, help! I'm being repressed!
And then it's time to get over it & move on with life. We do not have the right to not be offended, but we can't sit around just waiting to get offended.

Next time you feel offended, please picture the offender with this tone of "voice". It might just help with the getting-over-it bit:

1 comment:

  1. Very, very true. I was expecting offense for a while back on my blog, but now.. :) I'm taking it all in stride with trying to be more understanding and to be less personally affronted.