Activism · Inspiration · Social Media · Writing

“People Get Offended Over Everything Nowadays” – a Rebuttal

I have been struggling lately. As have many of us. The world can seem a frightening, frustrating place. I struggle personally with feeling like I fit in, or that my voice matters. I have insecurities about my value in the lives of people important to me, and if I’m doing enough to help the world and the suffering while I have a relatively privileged life. I struggle with anxiety and am seeing professionals to help me with it. Some days, I have enough spoons to reach out and help others. But many, I don’t have any more energy than to slide through the day and coast until I can fall asleep.

But I’ve been noticing a very frustrating comment popping up around me and on social media.

“People get offended over everything nowadays.”

So let’s start here.

of·fend·ed
əˈfendəd/
adjective
resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.
“she sounded slightly offended”
synonyms:upset, insulted, affronted, aggrieved, displeased, hurt, woundeddisgruntled, put out, annoyed

This definition and it’s synonyms describe a series of feelings, due to what is a perceived  insult. That perception is in the eyes of the person feeling the insult, not the person making the comment.

offended

So, while someone making a statement/comment/post/joke can absolutely have innocent intentions, the word offended is an adjective (A word attached to a noun to describe it) specifically attached to the audience of said statement/comment/post/joke. I mention this again, to make it very clear that regardless of original intent, it is the person hearing/seeing it that determines if they are “offended”, or as I prefer to describe it, hurt by something.

So does that mean I can’t say anything, make any jokes, state my opinions?”

I am so glad you asked, gentle reader.

Of course that is not what I mean. You are free to speak your mind. You are welcome to have an opinion. In most instances, as I try to trust in the general good-intent of humans, you may not even know why you may have inadvertently offended someone.

So I will provide my own analogy.

For many years, my husband and I struggled with infertility. We had four miscarriages and I was in a near-constant raw emotional state. But grief is a strange thing. I tried to keep smiling and moving about my life as usual. Many of our friends and family members would announce pregnancies and show beautiful growing baby bumps. And my heart broke with each one, though I felt happy for them and their joy. In most cases, no one understood how this hurt, because they had only intended to share their joy, their happiness, and gratitude.

I wasn’t offended, but, I was certainly hurting.

I bring up this example, because I now have two beautiful and rambunctious children. Children I wish to share with those I love. I want them to share in my joy and our happiness. But, since I came from the situation before, I now try to choose my words carefully. I try not to make everything I share about them. I try to check in on some of my friends I know are still struggling. I’m not perfect about it, but I am absolutely mindful.

“So if I don’t know if I’m offending someone, how do I say anything anymore?”

Oh, dear reader, let me help. This is the flowchart I have devised for dealing with mindful language.

Empathy

What it boils down to, in my opinion is this. If, upon reflection, I have hurt someone intentionally or not, am I willing to be present and communicate with them to try and understand why my words or actions hurt them?

If I am so resolute in my conviction that I do not care that I hurt another human being, I have two choices; either accept that I hurt someone and accept the consequences of that, or reexamine my convictions and why I am willing to hurt others to hold on to them.

Simply put, am I willing to be compassionate to others’ experiences though they may not be my own and try to further understanding to avoid causing unnecessary discomfort or pain?

In these tumultuous times, more people are speaking out about things that offend them. At the heart of those words are people are making themselves vulnerable by describing the words and actions that hurt them and diminish their value as a human being. At our source, all humans want to be loved and feel their own worth. They want to be recognized and seen. They want to know they matter. I’ll bet you do too.

That is the center of humanity, try to see the humanity in others and how it reflects back to you. I am willing to bet that if you try, you can learn a lot about others and yourself when you look.

Much love and blessings to you all.

~Magpie

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Blogging · Inspiration · Social Media · Unfriending Facebook

Unfriending Facebook: Week 2

February 26th – March 2nd

This work week has been hard.

I went to the Urgent Care nearest my office. I had been having increasing pain and numbness in my leg and wanted to do the due diligence of seeing a professional. The prime suspect is a cyst behind my knee (oh boy!), but when I was being triaged, my blood pressure was abnormally, and frighteningly high.

I had to go get x-rays taken, but I could feel the blood pulsing in my neck. The more I thought about my BP and the snippets of the conversation with the doctor that involved the word “stroke”, the more I stressed. It was a vicious cycle. Normally, I’d post a silly picture of me in the x-ray room, or a comment about needing to calm down. It was a passive aggressive way to seek comfort from my friends while trying to appear “totally calm and chill about stressful situations”. But I didn’t have it to fall back on. I had to learn to self-soothe.

The doc at Urgent Care said that after my x-rays, she wanted me to take the next three days off. (another huge stressor) I couldn’t possibly take that time off. Not that I didn’t have it available, but would the world fall down around me if I left?

I sat down with my boss, who was completely understanding and encouraging, but even then, I couldn’t allow myself off until Thursday. I decided, against the doctor’s orders and without any pressure from my boss, to only take the afternoon Monday and all day Tuesday off. I couldn’t even allow myself more than a little downtime for my own health.

Tuesday was also technically only a half-day off, as we said goodbye to someone in our community. He was an all-around great guy. His life was not always easy and we didn’t connect as much as we all would have liked, but the world has been a much darker place since then.

Attending his wake was filled with anxiety. There were quite a few reasons, not all just because an open-casket calling hours always seems like an incredibly daunting task. But even so, it was incredibly heartwarming to see so many people from the community come back to see him off onto his next adventure. There were people there I hadn’t seen in decades and it was a happy/sad/bittersweet reunion.

I still wanted to have conversations on FB about it with the folks I wasn’t able to catch up with.

But, Tuesday, I *did* get a long soak in the tub, got some reading done, and was able to do some painting.

The beginnings of three paintings I’m working on.

We had an old friend over Wednesday and we have some great face-time catching up with each other. I decided I need to do it more.

We used to host regular dinners with friends and I want to do it again. I want my home bustling with loved ones and filled with laughter and shared tears.

I need real-life community and connections. This week has proven that.

I’m still a junkie, but I’m starting to see the light .

Blogging · Inspiration · Social Media · Unfriending Facebook

Unfriending Facebook: Days 7-10

2/22/18 – 2/25/18

I took a few days off the blogging.

I’ve been depressed. Not inordinately so, but enough to not want to try and write about it every day.

I’ve been thinking about what I spoke to my therapist about. While I’m becoming more and more glad that I’ve gotten the poison of “the network” out of my daily routine, I’ve been really thinking about what kinds of connections are important to me.

While it’s completely easy to type a few words and then send it out to the majority of the people I know…it’s not the kind of relationship that brings me the most joy. I love being in face to face conversations, and creating memories in real life. I’m struggling with the people that I love that aren’t local. I’m not sure how to keep in touch with people outside a quick visit distance.

I’ve had people reach out after the news of our old friend’s passing. And it’s meant way more than a “like” or an emoji.

So I’ve been painting again and it’s given me focus. Working on some projects around the house, and going out with the kids on errands. Spending more quality time with the family as I can.

But I started getting messages again last night via e-mail about some of the groups I belong to. Somehow, my account had been reactivated. So I had to go through and deactivate again.

For the third time.

Deactivating
Yes, a real screenshot of FB’s emotional blackmail.

It’s getting easier, but the picture being painted of a bad breakup is getting creepier and creepier.

I’m still a junkie.

Blogging · Inspiration · Social Media

Unfriending Facebook: Day 5

2/20/18 – Tuesday

I woke up tired. I had a lot of weird dreams.

I didn’t try to mindlessly swipe to the Facebook App like I had been in days past.

It feels like a scab that I know better than to touch, but the itch is still there.

I miss my friends, especially the ones that spread support and love through Facebook.

I’m starting to think many of the friendships I have are false. But I’m also worried that it’s part of this culture now to only notice recent or popular posts…not exactly to really connect with people.

I missed my friend’s birthday. I have a terrible memory and “the network” was how I checked the week to make sure I hadn’t forgotten birthdays. I feel like a jerk.

I’m still obsessively looking for that post the friend asked me for a few days ago. I’m trying to fight the urge to try and reactivate just to find it. I think that’s a bad idea.

Events scheduled and rescheduled now require direct contact if I’m going to hear about it. I suspect I’m not going to be reached out to anymore. The network has now become an integral part of my social circles.

I’m going to get left behind.

There was an accident at our house and my daughter pulled down a dresser. She was completely safe and didn’t even have a scratch. But I was freaked out and wanted to reach out to my friends and just get some love and support. I would normally do this through the network. That wasn’t available to me.

I tried to think of who I would bother by reaching out personally. I suspect this will be a problem from here on out.

I feel like an archaic stereotype getting left behind as the world moves and connects without them.

I’m still a junkie.

Blogging · Inspiration · Social Media

Unfriending Facebook: Day 4

2/19/18 – Monday

The morning felt sluggish. I don’t know how my friends are. I feel a huge urge to reactivate the account. I feel like emailing everyone I know, telling them I miss them…

I feel sad.

The downtime I would usually spend scrolling, catching up with people and seeing what things are making my friends happy or frustrated that day felt really rough the first Monday without Facebook.

I was, however, able to get caught up on the news, thanks to The Skim that aggregates the big news in bite sized portions without too much overload. I kept informed without too many details that would send me into a spiral of obsession and anxiety.

I got into no online arguments, mostly because I had no contact with anyone. So it’s a net push.

I thought a lot about art. Did a little sketching. Planned out some pieces I wanted to paint. I felt cagey that I couldn’t do art that very second.

Frankly, I feel cagey full stop.

A friend sent a screen shot of some drama on FB. It was like someone offering a recovering alcoholic a Jack and Coke. I started to feel upset at the discontent of the friend that posted. I wanted to fix it. I wanted to defend people. The hubs said I should not so politely ask the copy paste-r to cut it out. I feel like a child calling myself an addict to Facebook. But that hit of the old drug sent me quickly back into the feeling that I needed to jump back online and fix the problem.  Thankfully, I did not.

My mind has been adrift and out of focus and it felt like the day slipped away from me.

I got home, took care of the kids. and crashed. There was some D&D in there, though the game was short two of the four players. But all in all it was a great rp session, even if my brain felt fuzzy.

I wanted to know how my people were.

I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I’m still a junkie.

Blogging · Inspiration · Social Media

Unfriending Facebook: Day 3

2/18/18 – Sunday

I got up and downloaded a stupid game app to fill a little bit of my time while I was still waking up. I know I’m replacing one type of addiction with another, but at least cute little dragons don’t fill me with existential dread.

I decided to make homemade strawberry jam. This was completely out of character for me. It was really fun and my daughter helped. I felt really good to make something from scratch that took a long period of focused time.

I read some more. That was nice.

A friend messaged me to ask for something I posted a few days ago. I didn’t have access to it anymore and only sort of remembered what it was. I spent an hour trying to find it online. I felt guilty and upset that I let her down. I thought about reactivating to get the image…I felt guilt. Then I felt sad that she didn’t ask how I was.

I’m eating when I’m not hungry.

I feel lonely still.

I’m still a junkie.

Blogging · Inspiration · Social Media

Unfriending Facebook: Day 2

2/17/18 – Saturday

I woke up to my second morning trying to open up the app upon first waking.

The number of times I have automatically swiped to the screen on my phone where the app once sat is starting to be embarrassing.

I have I have come to realize that most Saturday mornings when my kids are watching cartoons, I’m mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I realized this as I sat where I normally do first thing on Saturday and held my phone in my hand, disappointed.

Instead, I took a few minutes and scrolled through Instagram and Twitter

I got up and made a sensory craft with my daughter. She was ecstatic.

I learned that logging into any account that I had connected to Facebook will reactivate my account. I had to go through and deactivate it again. I am not pleased.

I read a book. An actual physical book.

I made royal icing for the first time and made desserts.

I still feel sad. I feel like I’ve separated myself from my only way to communicate with most of the people in my life. I’m feeling isolated of my own volition.

I’m short tempered with my husband and my kids. I feel ashamed.

I consider getting on my husband’s account and seeing how my friends are.

I’m still a junkie.