“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” – Marcus Aurelius
Many of us have been offended by what we read, what we saw, or what we heard. How does that happen? It happens when we forget that sometimes no offense was intended. We forget about the human being on the other side of that article, video, or song. It also happens when we give take ourselves too seriously.
How would a stranger know what upsets you? How would you know what upsets them? You don’t. They don’t.
Instead of a world where people are offended by everything, take account of yourself. If you are offended by an author—don’t read their work again. If you don’t like a YouTube video, a movie, or a television show—stop watching it. If you don’t like a talk-show host on a radio program—turn the dial. The same goes for people when you’re in person. If a person says something that offends you—tell them. If they continue, stop hanging out with them. If you are bothered by a person in school, a place of employment, or some other area where you cannot escape this person—approach the person that can do something about it.
Most people, particularly those who have offended you and did not know, will stop their behavior immediately and apologize. Forgive them and move on. The challenge I see in our societies today is people are too easily offended and not willing to forgive—instead, words like homophobe, misogynist, and racist are used, sometimes followed by violence.
As I work on the character trait tolerance, I enjoy reading quotes like these. It is about letting others have the right to say what they want, write what they want, and sing what they want. I used to get upset with certain political views, certain radio stations, certain television shows. It is stressful and not worth the time. Don’t get me wrong, I still cringe when I hear something that is way out of my realm of tolerance and change the station, click on a different YouTube channel, or stop reading a book or article. As I work on this character trait, I am doing it a lot less.
What I am discovering over the last month is that the longer I stay engaged the more I learn. I have begun to reject my righteousness for the sake of learning something. I reject it, so I can engage and open my eyes and ears to something that may be helpful.
Open your eyes and ears to opinions, beliefs, and values counter to your own. I think you’ll be surprised by the results.
Until next time…