In my last article I wrote about not being a victim. Here’s a big clue you are playing the victim: You are offended. Forget about whether you “have a right” to be offended. Forget about whether the other person, or group, or circumstance is truly offensive. None of that really matters. The true problem is you. If you are offended, then you are being a victim. You are letting others control you.
Some people really get off on being offended. It’s their way of life. It’s how they attempt to control other people. There are others who seem to make their living at being offended on behalf of others. Al Sharpton comes to mind here. If you find yourself frequently offended, you need to do some soul searching.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t engage in or support a lot of the behavior that some people find offensive. However, it does not offend me. I can easily ignore it. It slides right on past me. As long as I can remember I have thought that people who are offended have a problem far greater than the offender.
When I was a young school child I once raised my hand in class. When my old and rather proper teacher called upon me I asked: “May I be excused to go excrete my body waste.” She started screeching at me. How dare I talk to her that way, etc. She was truly offended. I had won. I had accomplished my purpose. She had just encouraged my future behavior.
In 7th grade I had a history teacher who was really proud of his American flag. So one day my friends and I pinned a bunch of pictures of naked women and their parts all over his flag. He came into the room and went ballistic. He started ripping off the pictures screaming about desecration of the flag. I was more thrilled than a sky diver jumping out of a plane. Parents, this is a lesson that should not be lost upon you either.
Some people are intentionally trying to be offensive, like me with my teachers. You let them win when you are offended. Are you offended by shove-it-in-your-face gay rights activists who display right in front of you what you consider offensive behavior? If so, then they got what they wanted. You handed them the victory they were seeking.
What’s even worse is that as far as I can see, most of what offends people was never intended as offensive in the first place. Being offended in that case is a true tragedy. We have become a society of thought and action police over harmless nonsense. Are you a Native American who is offended by the Florida State Seminoles mascot and tomahawk chop? If so then you are a supreme victim. Not a single one of those 80,000 fans has a Native American or his culture on their minds during their harmless fun. My high school mascot was an Indian. I never once thought of Native Americans.
I know people will say that it may seem harmless to you but it hurts other people. That’s my point. It shouldn’t hurt those other people. When you try to control other people because of your “sensitivities” you are in the wrong. You are the victim. As far as I’m concerned it really doesn’t matter whether someone is intentionally trying to offend or not. The ultimate problem is with the offendee.
Yes there is a lot of outrageous speech and behavior, but so what? Don’t play into the drama with your offense. Frankly I’m glad I live in a diverse world where people can try to offend me. I think it is healthy in the long run. Would you rather be in Iran or Afghanistan? The one thing that probably does offend me is people who think they have a right to control the thoughts, speech, or actions of their fellow citizens. The corporate world and many college campuses have turned into places where you have to be on guard for the thought police that are lurking around every corner waiting for you to offend. I think it is sad.
When I was growing up in the 70’s it seemed the world was a lot less uptight. That’s probably just my selective memory. I think we all did get along better though. Since that time we seem to have fragmented into an endless variety of interests groups based upon sex, sexual-orientation, ethnicity, wealth class, politics, and religion who are constantly offended by the actions of the other groups. Maybe not, but that’s the way it seems to me.
If you want to be happy and live a fulfilling and joyful life, you have got to eliminate the offense from your life. Otherwise, you had better prepare to die a bitter old person having been wronged by a world you didn’t ask for.
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