We can safely say that our culture has skillfully mastered the art of being offended.
I can scratch my eye while facing another human being, and suddenly the act of scratching my eye will become the next hashtag on social media.
If you can forgive my harsh sarcasm, you will be able to see where I am going with this. Our culture and society have become so bored and egocentric that anything, I mean anything can be seen as a trigger for offense, depression, or anxiety.
Cold hard facts are now grounds for offense.
Where does this stop?
This has become a topic of reflection for me as I continue to develop myself and begin a new life.
Since Thanksgiving, I have been ruminating on what to write about next. I had been breaking my victorious victim mentality thought thread by thought thread and I noticed how I do become easily offended by certain topics. Regretfully, I do have the propensity to be easily offended at snide comments here and there. I often will not voice it, but I let it simmer, boil over, and then two years later someone is on the receiving end of a tongue lashing. Much of this has subsided as I matured over the years, but it is something I am still learning to master.
Since I had time over a 16-hour car drive to reflect on how I relate to the world, other people, and myself; I decided to look at the things that offend me. I started to realize there was a common thread—any comments having to do with my outer appearance, personality, choices I have made in life, etc. were all aspects of myself that I had never fully accepted and was always…wait for it…say it with me…looking for outside validation to base my acceptance upon.
You need to be able to laugh at yourself when you are on this journey and be able to see the humor. Otherwise, you will always be frustrated.
These were also aspects of my entire self that I lacked appreciation for. I never appreciated the fact that I viewed the world in a unique way. I never appreciated that I had a full, voluptuous, healthy body or that I laughed too loud, and was happy all of the time. And any jokes made about me were taken personally because it was an invalidation.
I wanted external validation, and when “Rosie Posie” would not get what she wanted, she would go haywire forcing those she loved to walk on eggshells around her. I also noticed that these aspects of myself were also things about myself that I was working tirelessly to change so I could be more palatable to people.
You would think after trying this for almost 20 years, I would have figured out at some point how to stop doing that. Nope. I had to endure a tremendous loss in order to get to this point. It worked though.
Our society has programmed us to see offense as something to be feared and avoided at all costs. However, I see offense in a different way.
I view it as an incredible tool for self-development and actualization. Even Jordan Peterson could agree that offense is actually a useful tool if you can shift your perspective and use it wisely. The tower moment my victim mentality began to experience a couple of weeks ago was absolutely brilliant. Examining offense as a tool for self-reflection and improvement began to shatter my long-standing narrative.
“Poor Rosie just can’t get a break!”
“Bullsh*t! I can get a break. I just needed to give it to myself and stop looking to others to give it to me.”
By giving myself a break, I looked at the offense as being an indicator of three different things:
1. Something in you needs to be accepted.
2. Something in you needs to change. You know the dirty truth about yourself, you know you can be an asshole, and you know you need to change but you won’t. You want people to accommodate you.
3. You have a strong boundary in that area and for a good reason—betrayal offends me because my loyalty to others is not easily given so if that loyalty is mistreated or mishandled or abused—then a boundary has been crossed.
I want us to focus on the first point as this is something I am not seeing spoken a lot about in the self-development circles. I was notorious for seeking acceptance outside of myself, as we all are.
Unfortunately, being an easily offendable person, people have tiptoed around me because of how I used to react to certain situations, jokes, and such. Once I took full and complete responsibility for the reputation I created, I was able to dig far enough to understand that my offendable nature was a result of not accepting myself and literally attempting to try to change myself so others would accept and keep me.
I wanted the outside validation because I believed that that would fix all of my problems—the victim would be saved and I would be healed.
Nope! Not the case at all. I needed to give the same acceptance I had been giving to others to myself for a change.
And there are some things about me that I needed to accept. For instance, my temper is hotter than Satanś brothel, and that yes, I have a very childlike view of the goodness this world still has left in it. As I accept myself along with the choices I have made over the years, the need for something big to happen to confirm I made the right choice diminishes as well as confirm my existence in this world. Ironically, that is usually when life confirms everything; when you finally start accepting and stop looking.
Using the gift of offense as a tool for my own growth has been a catalyst of radical self-acceptance and self-love for that matter. It has helped me find the voice I had been seeking my entire life.
The deeper I accept the good, bad, ugly, and downright amazing dimensions of myself, the more the need to ¨prove¨ myself to the world that I am diminishes.
Am I completely healed and self-actualized?
Oh for goodness sake, not at all. This is a lifelong journey; I’ĺl never be finished.
The point is that being offended is an amazing tool for self-development and actualization. It shows you where your boundaries are, what you need to more than likely need to work on, and what parts of you are crying out for acceptance.
We are all good, bad, angelic, demonic, self-sacrificing, and even deviously calculating. Humans are not one-dimensional; we are multidimensional beings. We are shadow and light.
You want to find acceptance, start with yourself, and then the prison bars will slowly begin to melt away, freeing you from the slavery of external validation.