I had an experience this week that I wanted to share because the many lessons are layered and still keep coming. It’s about being offended, or offending.
I am very aware of not getting caught up in the drama of the story so I intend to set the scene as quickly as possible to draw from the lessons rather than the he-said, she-said.
This is not about debating who is right and wrong but what we can learn and how we can grow from these sorts of experiences.
The Context… In A Nutshell
Let’s say I engaged the services of a mentor for their information and expertise in a certain field. It turns out our world views are very different. I embrace concepts like sovereignty, self-responsibility and natural law, while she embraces concepts such as social justice, inclusion and oppression.
Which is fine… I have come to a point where I (mostly, to the best of my ability) intend to allow everyone to exist freely.
I made a comment on social media, agreeing with the concept, “I cannot offend you if you choose not to be offended.” Instead, we should empower people to master their emotions and response because we cannot control the outside world and can only control ourselves.
The response was that my comment and thoughts had offended some people and were “potentially” racist, ableist, sexist or discriminatory.” It was not explained exactly how.
It seems it is not the comment itself that is offensive but how someone might go on to extrapolate, imply and layer their own personal meaning and experience into it.
This perspective deems that if someone feels offended by something, it is offensive.
The intention and actual content seems irrelevant.
Aspects of Me
What was interesting to me were the different aspects of my psyche that arose.
My ego wanted to go in, guns blazing, to pick apart every word and defend my thoughts and worldview. To try to prove her wrong and show how right I was. I journaled it out, and we refrained.
Another aspect of my human self did an internal eye-roll and decided it was way too hard even to try to engage or dialogue with this perspective.
The observer and my soul kept whispering there were big lessons to learn and to pay close attention.
A part of me wanted to say, “I told you so. You kind of knew you were misaligned but tried to focus on the message and information and ignore the messenger.”
I only beat myself up mentally for a short time.
But the most interesting part that arose was a deep, quiet, vulnerable and wounded child.
The part of me that, when I tapped into her, broke into distraught tears. This is the aspect of me that, when prompted, explained that she felt unheard and misunderstood. Her entire life, she has been told by authority figures that people don’t want to hear what she says, she is too hard, and to be quiet and do what she’s told. And now she’s paying someone to help her, that tells her she is wrong and basically to be quiet.
For decades, she has questioned her own mind, her view of the world, and has stayed silent.
She tries to understand the other perspective, and does not want to hurt people, but desperately wants and needs to express herself as she is… right or wrong.
Irony Of Offence
My original intention was never to offend but to empower self-responsibility and sovereignty. These sort of concepts are the core of my work.
To me, as a student and mentor it appears we are a mismatch, our worldview and values are clearly misaligned, and we should agree to go our separate ways. I said as much and it was reinforced that I was wrong and offensive.
The problem with this subjective approach to offence is that the collective and feelings of minorities are more important than the individual. The very personal emotional responses of a small few override logic and rationale and the ability for discussion and healthy debate.
Must we all censor everything we think or say in case it offends someone?
And should those who unintentionally offend be educated, changed and controlled?
The Opportunity Of Offence
However, what about my offence and past traumas?
What about my inner child who might be wounded from decades of being told not to speak out and express herself? Why does my intention or perspective not matter? Why am I just wrong?
Just because you feel offended, does that make you right?
The irony is that in the process of being inclusive to minorities, only those that agree with one perspective are included. Opposing views are dismissed as wrong and oppressive. And no-one wants to be wrong or oppressive, so they switch and agree.
Except when you don’t. Which in this case is me…
While an aspect of my ego was offended, overall, I am not. I am so grateful for this experience because it busted open a heap of stuff.
It gave me the opportunity to connect with my inner child and heal another layer toward fuller self-expression.
It gave me the opportunity to process something over a matter of days rather than weeks or months.
It gave me the opportunity to express myself and stand firm in who I am, my values and my worldview. I did not waver or question myself.
It gave me the opportunity to learn many lessons…
Lessons And Reminders
The lessons are many and layered… these are mine, but you are likely to find your own.
- Learn to recognise and tap into your intuition, trust it, and follow it. Stop questioning your higher self.
- When working with anyone, understand their values and worldview and ensure they are energetically and morally aligned.
- Regardless of the choices you make, everything is perfect and will get you to where you need to be. You cannot make a wrong choice!!
- We cannot control the behaviours, emotions or thoughts of other people. Nor should we try to, even if we believe them to be wrong. We are all here for an individual journey and need to collectively support one another in this.
- True unity is where we easily allow others to exist as they are, and experience their own journey and view of the world. And we are allowed to do the same.
- You are the only one who can heal your wounds and traumas. Every time we experience an emotional trigger, it is an opportunity to heal. By tip-toeing, trying not to offend and making sure everyone feels okay, are we denying others to heal their wounds?
This perspective may be controversial. You may agree with some or all. It may offend some. It is not intended that way. It is intended as a reflection and an opportunity for growth.
I never set out to hurt or harm, but only to put out a perspective for consideration.
Who knows, down the track I may gain more insight and change my mind. This is not right or finite.
How you respond is up to you. If it triggers and offends you and brings up emotions, embrace the opportunity to pay attention and heal.
You can be offended, you can heal, learn and grow, or you can walk away.
But if you want to move towards a place of true unity and allowance, don’t demand that people suppress and change who they are to make you feel better because you don’t like what they think or say.
Or do, because they can learn and grow!
Everything is perfect, and
The choice is yours…