Yep, I said it. We live in the most offended society to ever grace the planet. Political correctness has overtaken the day and in my (limited) research, I have found about 5 people that are actually in favor of political correctness. Everyone else hates it, yet they regularly participate in it. We are careful what we say so we don’t offend someone. We put up false walls and dangerous barriers so we don’t hurt others and step on their toes. In doing so we are losing the ability to be real, to be authentic, and to be vulnerable.
We can’t go a week without hearing a sound bite or seeing a video of some public figure saying and doing something stupid. We call for their job, demand their apology, and cry for the grievances to be righted. Let me ask you this: could you go one week with every thought, word, and action being taped and be shown blameless at the end of the week? Me neither.
Several years ago a good friend of mine said “One of the kindest things you can do to someone is to be willing to offend them.” The truth is, how much would you have to dislike someone to not share something that may offend them. Likely you are doing this because you care for them. Because you love them. Because you want them to be better. Your intention isn’t bad, it’s quite opposite.
If I have a huge stem of broccoli hanging between my teeth, I want to know that. If I am saying things or doing things that are hurtful or ignorant of others’ feelings, I need to know that. Me not wanting to hear these things doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should be hurtful and mean, but we should be willing to say something that could possibly offend the other party because it is the best, most kind thing to do at the time.
I’m also not equating being offended with being sensitive. My family members are sensitive. My friends are sensitive, my clients are sensitive. Heck, even I am sensitive. Being sensitive shows your care and your compassion. Being sensitive is a natural response to what matters to you. Being personally offended shows a lack of personal resilience and strength. Being offended shifts blame and responsibility from you to someone else.
When you are constantly personally offended, you are in essence saying “I give you power over my feelings and I don’t care to take responsibility for my life.” It shows just how willing you are to let others affect how you feel and to determine your level of self-worth.
To be offended is to be baited or trapped into a situation where you are held captive by another and where bitterness and unforgiveness can thrive.
In order to live a life less offended here are a few suggestions:
- Start putting others first. By focusing on others first, you’ll have less energy to be consumed with how others are letting you down.
- Start being grateful and thankful. If you look for things to be grateful for, you will find them. Change your outlook and you will have less to be offended about.
- Start believing the best in others. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume their intentions are good.
- Stop controlling others. Focus on controlling yourself and giving others more freedom, which will lead to healthier relationships.
- Stop holding grudges. You can still be frustrated, sensitive, and even angry but you can’t continue to hold these emotions over time. Experience the pain but don’t hold on to it.
Lead well, lead often, LEAD STRONG!