Where is the lighthouse we once called sanity?
Its beacon unseen to eyes searching the sea,
Lost in a storm of fashionable outrage,
Blinding our perspective of reality.
In a world overripe with self-indulgence,
Where victim status is gratification,
Exquisite tender feelings the vehicle
Nourishing and qualifying existence.
Victimized sensibilities adopted;
Allowing acceptance to the human fold.
Meaningless lives granted credibility
By simply uttering “I am offended.”
In a society quick to place blame, celebrate dysfunction, and revere hyper-sensitivities, people embrace the neurosis of being offended as their link to humanity. They bludgeon the “Golden Rule” into self-gratification – “do unto me as I would have you do unto me.” They claim victim status although it is their pursuit of gratification and their paranoia with personal insecurities that contribute most to that status. They seek approval through martyring their beliefs and principles. Without universal public acknowledgement and approval, their lives have little meaning or value; they feel ignored, isolated, and even violated. “I am offended,” is their cry for attention, acceptance, and standing; it is what makes them feel alive and human.
We live in a culture of indignant sufferers; people who are self-proclaimed victims. In today’s society, it is fashionable to find offense with everything, especially different perspectives on life, different lifestyles, and different beliefs. It has become mandatory for people to walk on egg shells and instantly cease and discontinue any activity that might send some self-ordained victim into an indignant rage. As a result, we are trapped in an ever spinning dance of political correctness where we are pressed into a corner until we give up and reward the infantile cry of the offended with the concessions they demand. There is no longer any rhyme or reason to these affronts other than he who cries loudest gets his way.
Of course, there are those who will argue the whine of the offended is not about self-gratification, but rather, it is a cry for compassion and sensitivity. Hogwash! In the mass produced sensitivity hysteria of today’s society, there are few exceptions where being offended is not the intentional pursuit of self-gratification or the result of insecurities surrounding personal views and beliefs. A person secure in his beliefs does not need the acknowledgement or assurance of others nor does he need to bring attention to himself to lend standing to his principles. He does not scour the sea looking for a lighthouse beacon or a lifeboat as a savior; he is safe and secure in who he is and what he believes. He is not offended by those who do not share his feelings, beliefs, or views. He simply smiles, gives them a warm pat on the back, and goes about his business thinking, “Bless their hearts.”
However, for most people, it is difficult to avoid getting sucked into the world of the offended. Americans have mastered the art of wearing their feelings on their sleeves, and with the exception of individual heroic efforts, there is little hope our society will have the courage and will power to escape our overindulgence in self-serving gratification any time soon. We have lost our backbone to stand up to proclamations of self-righteous indignities. We are drowning in a sea of hurt feelings and entitlement. The “I am Offended” epidemic has turned us into a comedic nation of slobbering ninnies slowly rowing out to sea in a leaking lifeboat.
What we need are strategies that will restore common sense, and hopefully enable Americans to regain their backbone. With some simple strategies to follow during moments of weakness, people might be less likely to be offended. However, the best strategy or advice to help people avoid being offended comes from the Bible in Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. “Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.” Of course, I probably offended someone by quoting the Bible. But then again, we have to start somewhere. We need to stop looking out to sea for the lighthouse beacon. We need to use some common sense and look to the shore for the light before we are lost beyond the horizon.
Strategies Guaranteed to Keep You from being Offended
- “Stop it” Strategy: Stop looking for ways to be offended. If you look, you will find, so STOP IT! Being offended is not worth the stress it causes;
- “Grow Up” Strategy: Quit whining about being offended! Grow up, and get over it! Being offended is a personal monkey shifted onto someone else’s shoulders! Unfortunately, lately, society has been more than willing to take on everybody’s monkey. Just because you are offended doesn’t mean you are right. All it means is that like everyone else you have an opinion;
- “Turn it off” Strategy: If something offends you, Turn the page; Turn it off; Turn your head, or Turn a deaf ear! Do whatever you need to do to focus elsewhere. If you dwell on it, you must enjoy it! If you enjoy it, what’s the problem?
- “Shrug” Strategy: If you are offended and can’t do anything about it, shrug it off and move on. If you have no control over something, why worry about it unless you just like hearing yourself whine. If that is the case, join a country band or a political party;
- “It is not Personal” Strategy: Being offended is a personal problem, so quit trying to involve the world in your problem! Stop taking everything so personal! Quit trying to be a victim! The odds are that whatever you find offensive was not directed at you personally! Even if it was, there is little you can do about it, so move on. Only an extremely minuscule percentage of the people in the world even know you exist, so spend your time on the people who “float your boat” and you float theirs, and ignore the rest;
- “Be Humble” Strategy: Everything is not about you. You are not the center of the universe! Be humble with your opinions and beliefs. Your opinions and beliefs are yours; they do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the management, your neighbor, or the human race as a whole. God loves diversity; that is why each of us is different;
- “Don’t Be a Ninny” Strategy: Don’t be a ninny and think and act like you are the only person in the world with beliefs and opinions that matter. Only a nitwit or someone born in a hay filled barn with no ventilation is shocked and upset to learn there are people who have different views and opinions than they do. Face it, the world is full of different people with different personalities, beliefs, habits, life styles, and opinions; unfortunately, everybody cannot be a perfect copy of you;
- “Don’t Judge” Strategy: Resist judging! People who are slow to judge are not easily offended;
- “Be in Control” Strategy: No one can offend you unless you allow them to offend you. People who are easily offended are easily manipulated and controlled. When you allow yourself to be offended, you are allowing someone to control your emotions and your life; and
- “Chill” Strategy: When you get a super-duper “That offends me wedgie” over what someone said or did, take a chill pill, relax, and refer to any of the nine strategies above. Life is too short to worry about things you cannot control, so find a source of gratification that doesn’t require the approval of others, re-assess your personal views and beliefs, or simply relax and enjoy the show!
I hope you find these strategies helpful, but if you insist on being offended, I have a leaking lifeboat I will loan you complete with a single oar locked to the starboard side. When you make it to the lighthouse, let me know.
©Jack Linton, November 15, 2015