Do We Have to Be Offended By Everything?

good listener

What do you think when you hear, “Calm down, it’s just a joke”?

-

You are a smart person and you pride yourself on your critical thinking abilities and general good taste.

You read or hear or watch something and find yourself smiling, nodding in agreement, maybe even laughing out loud. This, whatever this happens to be, is genius. Whoever created it somehow articulated exactly what you’ve been thinking but have never been able to put into words. Nothing has ever been more perfect.

You share what you’ve just read, heard or watched with your friends, expecting that they’ll be just as blown away by the insight and hilarity as you were. And some people do get it, so you high five to celebrate your mutual intelligence and awesomeness. But then a few of your friends start to voice misgivings, and then someone comes right out and says it:

This isn’t cool.

Here’s the thing – you’re not a bad person. In fact, you would typically describe yourself as kind-hearted, open-minded and even downright liberal.  You support marriage equality, you think that the patriarchy is a Real Thing, you’re against oppression and intolerance of any kind, and you use terms like social justicewhite privilege and problematic. You are a good person. So if you think that what you shared was cool, and so many other people that you like and respect thought it was cool, then it stands to reason that it must be cool. And rather than second-guessing yourself or taking a fresh look at the video or blog post or whatever it was you shared, you let your knee-jerk self-righteousness and fear take over. Because, let’s be honest – as much as you believe that you’re in the right right, you are also afraid. Afraid that you are what you purport to hate, or at the very least unconsciously participating in a system that you hate.

And so you begin to loudly dismiss and belittle the other person’s concerns.

“Calm down, it’s just a joke.”

“You’re taking this too seriously.”

“You’re reading something into this that just isn’t there.”

“Honestly, do we have to be offended by everything now?”

“You are way too sensitive.”

“I have a black/gay/trans*/female friend, and they don’t think this is racist/homophobic/transphobic/sexist.”

You might even throw in a word or two about censorship, if you’re in the right mood.

Because of course you must be in the right. If there was any problem with the content in question, you would have been the first to see it. If the joke was offensive, you wouldn’t have laughed. If this was something likely to hurt another person, you wouldn’t have shared it.

You are a good person.

So if someone is offended, that’s their problem, not yours. Maybe they’re too sensitive, or else maybe they’re just trying to show off somehow or cause a ruckus when there doesn’t need to be one. Chances are that they don’t even really feel hurt or upset; they have some other ulterior motive for their reaction. Or maybethey just don’t get it. Maybe they don’t understand satire, or maybe the joke went right over their head.

Whatever the case is, there is no possible chance that you could be wrong.

And yet.

What if you are wrong?

And what if your defensiveness has effectively shut down an opportunity to learn something?

And what if you genuinely did hurt someone?

Because the thing is, typically if someone is telling you that something isn’t cool, they’re not doing it out of a spirit of malice or a desire to police the things that you enjoy. They’re not trying to ruin all your fun. They’re telling you that this, whatever this is, could at best hurt someone’s feelings and at worst promote a dangerous and potentially violent world view.

Our experiences obviously vary a great deal from person to person, and the lens through which we view things can very much depend on factors like race, gender, sexuality and class. So something that might strike one person as harmless has the potential to affect someone else in a very different way. And I get that it’s hard to get outside of our own heads sometimes, and it’s hard to admit that we might be wrong, and it’s especially fucking hard to examine our own privilege and the way that privilege colours our perception, but seriously – how else do you expect to learn and grow as a person?

Life is an ongoing exercise in empathy.

Take a moment right now to ask yourself what you are truly saying when you tell someone that they are too easily offended. That you value your ability to post rape jokes on Facebook more than you do their friendship? That the right to free speech is a one way street, open only to you and those agree with you? That you don’t care about something so long as it doesn’t directly affect you?

So I guess it all boils down to what kind of person you want to be – do you want to be someone who is caring and compassionate, someone who takes others’ feelings into consideration? Or do you want to be someone who is always right? Because there’s no way that you can be both.

Life is an ongoing exercise in empathy. As a human being, your job should be constantly learning how to make your own way in this world while causing as little harm as possible.  Which is why I’m ultimately baffled when people wonder aloud if they’re supposed to look at everything critically and worry about its potential to harm others. Because yes. Yes, that is exactly what you are supposed to do.

And while you may laugh at the ridiculousness of what some people find offensive, the fact is that one day you are going to stumble across something and it’s going to hurt you. When that day comes, you are going to want someone to listen to you and try to understand where you’re coming from. So you know what? You be that person. You be that person right now, and you listen to others, and you exercise empathy. Because one day you’re going to be on the other side of the calm-down-it’s-just-a-joke argument, and when that time comes you are going to bitterly regret every single instance in which you downplayed or ignored someone what someone else was trying to tell you.

 

Originally appeared at The Belle Jar

 

Photo: Flickr/LicenseAttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by quinn.anya

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About Anne Theriault

Anne Theriault lives in Toronto with her husband and young son. She spends her days teaching yoga, reading in cafés, and trying to figure out how to negotiate in toddler-ese.

Comments

  1. This reminds me of my post on my blog on being hard on myself. I don’t think it is a bad thing, but others are uncomfortable when I am.

  2. so, if someone starts talking Jesus talk and you are offended would you shame them or just tell them go somewhere else with that rap. And what if you have someone who is really cheap in your group and you make a “cheap person” joke. I do think there are levels to what is appropriate. When a Michael Jackson song comes on I turn it off so as not to honor his sickness. That makes some people mad.

    • so, if someone starts talking Jesus talk and you are offended would you shame them or just tell them go somewhere else with that rap.
      Shaming would not be the course of action. Shaming someone into not doing something really doesn’t teach any lessons in understanding and respecting others. All it does is try to associate that comment with being bad with no real understanding behind it.

      Trying to tell them to go somewhere else may work or it may just aggrevate them. It might be best to let them know that you just aren’t feeling what they are saying about Jesus.

      When a Michael Jackson song comes on I turn it off so as not to honor his sickness. That makes some people mad.
      Fine by me. You’re free to decide that you don’t want to listen to his music and I’m sure you have good reason for that. Just bear in mind that there are people who won’t avoid his music (which I’m sure you do). For example I’ve been soured to Mary J Blige since a few years ago when she attacked her husband at a party and then taunted him by saying, “What are you gonna do, Chris Brown me?”.

      • Some of the responses I have read are really interesting.
        Many of them in defense of risking offending another. Many people do not understand how many lives were affected by M.Jackson’s predatory behavior toward male children. He was never convicted as he settled for 26 million pay off. People need reminding that this great music was created by a monster but they only hear the music. Of course pedophiles are roaming through all aspects of art, politics and religion but it is downplayed enough that history won’t remember.
        It obviously angers me.

  3. This post is problematic with regard the author’s own literacy privilege. By using written language you are intentionally excluding people who cannot read and that is not cool. Pictographs would have been much more inclusive. Sorry, but this is offensive; check your privilege.

  4. Tom Brechlin says:

    Doesn’t it simply come down to the right time, place and person you’re talking to? Common sense say that if you’re in mixed company and you’re not familiar enough with some of the people you’re with, you take the side of caution. My wife is Mexican and through the years we’ve heard plenty of jokes. One was by a subordinate with a company I’d just started working. Once he was done with the joke, I informed him that my wife was Mexican. I assure you his turning many shades of red was hilarious. So was the next couple of days when I let him think I was pissed off. The poor guy hid in his office.

    Simply the right place at the right time with people you know.

  5. “Calm down, it’s just a joke…”

    I have heard that from a very toxic ex-friend…. It seems that it was okay for him to make “jokey” comments to me… but if I said anything back in a jocular way, he and his wife would take supreme offense against whatever I said (and I had no problem with his first wife who was fun and had a sense of humor)….

    His second wife was expecting, so I teasingly called her “mamasan” when I saw her…. I meant it in the most affectionate way…. They got really pissed at me because they thought I was calling her a “brothel madam” (??!!!??)….

    Anyway, they picked on everything I said or did…. even if I said nothing….long story short, I broke up with their nitpicky, abusive ways…. Some people can dish it out but they cannot take it themselves…

  6. With an article entitled “Do We Have to Be Offended by Everything?”, I was expecting to read something that might breathe a little fresh air into the stale funk of politically correct recirculation. But alas, no. It seems as if the author thinks that any Gretchen with a grievance is entitled to strict indulgence of her emotional infantility. Garbage.

    Sadly, that means nothing coming from me, being a white heterosexual male, but I’m sure there are those who are less “privileged” who would agree all the same. Some people simply wallow in their victimhood, and lack the ability to laugh at anything, let alone themselves. People who are too easily offended and too self-absorbed in their own (or others’) martyrdom are boring and irritating, for sure, but the worse thing is that they can make a legitimate cause seem dismissible, by trivializing it and allowing their detractors to believe all activists are as petty as they are.

    • But why do you get to decide what is truly offensive and what is people wallowing in their victimhood and on what basis do you decide it?

  7. It’s a great post, and an important message. And obviously, divides people into two camps: those who don’t want to change, and those who do.

  8. Life is also an ongoing effort in developing the recognition that not everything is about us, in growing a skin thick enough to take disagreement with our deepest beliefs, to respond rather than react to highly objectionable viewpoints, and to cope with direct challenge to our identities. While we should recognize that some people have particular sensitivities and should make some accommodations for them, we should always recognize that such states of heightened sensitivity and vulnerability are states of disability and weakness. Whatever provision we make for them should be made with the end that people develop the strength to move beyond them.

    Furthermore, the health of our society and democracy as places of free speech, rational discourse, and challenging exchange of viewpoints depends upon people having skins thick enough to cope with this (and this is not the same thing as saying that we should support wilfully uncivil discourse, just that we should recognize that healthy civil discourse will be highly offensive to many on occasions). When our focus is upon accommodating ever greater levels of psychological weakness and disability in hyper-sensitive people we gradually close down public discourse for the sake of people who really don’t yet have the necessary capacity to be part of it.

  9. Do you want to live in a world where people hide their personality so much that they never offend others?

  10. The flip side of this opinion could have just as easily been written and supported give a context. Within a specific context, a good discussion could be had as to where the tipping point lies and a good decision could be made without too much trouble.

    Many took offense to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and Khomeini called for his death based on the offense. This is an extreme example but not unique by any stretch.

    When a grossly unfair characterization creates a legitimate offense, the root cause is seldom the pleasure one gets from offending, so making being offended the focus of the discussion is typically not very helpful outside of a good manners discussion. My main objection is the prominence this topic is given in modern discourse.

  11. Bla, bla, bla

  12. A further part of the problem here is that many positions are mutually offensive. For instance, many people are deeply offended by opposition to same-sex marriage, regarding it as bigoted and homophobic, driven by hatred and fear. For others, however, same-sex marriage is an attack upon one of the nearest things to a universal cultural value that we have, cheapening the importance that we give to the unique relationship that forges bonds between the sexes, that creates bonds of blood, and that is the means by which practically every human being on the planet was conceived. In such cases, what one often discovers is that people aren’t that concerned about avoiding giving offence to groups with whom they strongly differ. It is only our preferred sort of people who should be protected from offence.

  13. Some of the comments here are just horrible. Think about it…the only reason anyone would tell a joke that putting other people down is for a selfish, narcissistic burst of ego-juice. Yuck.

    • Not necessarily. We tell jokes about other nationalities, the other sex, people in particular professions, people who support other sports teams, people of different cultures or sub-cultures, people with different hair colours, about different types of animals, about people who speak with different languages or accents, different religions, etc. because stereotypes can be a wonderful source of humour. And most of us can tell the difference between humorous stereotypes and reality.

      Many of us sit lightly to our identities in many respects, and enjoy good-humoured digs at our nationality, skin colour, favourite sports teams, accents, culture, or religion. We don’t feel vulnerable to non-malicious humour. Jokes are also a great way to play with rivalries or to form new light-hearted and playful rivalries with others.

      Such playful rivalries can be a great way of forming and strengthening bonds. Non-malicious rivalries with the supporters of another football team are a great way of forming a close in-group. Humour is also a way that some of the venom of real world rivalries can be removed.

      Humour at other’s expense can also be a great way of forming bonds with them. Good-humoured teasing, pranking, and joking about others can be a very effective mode of bonding in certain groups and between certain people. A measure of teasing can create a certain frisson between people in a relationship, drawing them closer and increasing the level of their mutual attraction.

      Many of us come from families, friendship groups, or workplaces where everyone makes fun of each other or plays jokes upon each other in various ways. These are very important and powerful means of bonding and signs of belonging. In many settings one’s ability to take sustained ribbing from one’s peers is treated as a sign of group membership and acceptance, a sign that you can take and give rougher but non-malicious treatment and that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

      Of course, things become much more complicated when sensitive and insecure people enter such groups, as the typical means of bonding depend upon everyone having a fairly thick skin. Often such sensitive people won’t be picked upon, as their sensitivity will be recognized. However, their presence creates an awkwardness and prevents the level of bonding that could have existed otherwise. They will struggle to be part of the group in the same way.

      Sensitive people are far too prone to pathologize such groups, when they can be entirely healthy and non-malicious. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with either party: it is just a bad match of personality types. Sometimes the group needs to develop a greater degree of care or sensitivity in the way it conducts its humour. And sometimes the sensitive person just needs to develop a thicker skin or get over themselves.

  14. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I think the term “privilege” is “problematic” because it’s analytically weak. I’m actually a social scientist, and I prefer not to lard my speech up with value-statements.

  15. Something interesting in the article that no one has commented on is the assertion that someone being offended is our problem. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if something I’ve said offends you then yes, it IS your problem, not mine. If you tell me you’re offended, I’ll consider what I’ve said, and consider your response. If I agree, I’ll apologise, if I don’t, tough shit.

    Guess what? The freedom of speech does not mean you have a right not to be offended by what I say. If you find something I say offensive, let’s have a debate about it. Don’t expect me to just say “oh my, so sorry I offended you”. Being offended is a recreational past time in Australia nowadays and quite frankly, many of us are tired of it. So you’re offended, good for you.

    • Mostly_123 says:

      “If you tell me you’re offended, I’ll consider what I’ve said, and consider your response. If I agree, I’ll apologise, if I don’t, tough shit.”

      Pete, that’s a pretty good summation of where I was headed on this.

      The counter-argument that people often use though is that this alone is not good enough: That is, when one proceeds from the notion that ‘the personal is political’ then no individual opinion, no individual sleight, is ever autonomous or apolitical. The validity of the objection (or opinion) is to be proportionately weighted, inversely, to their disaffection from the current power structure. Hence, the notion of ‘check your privilege’ -the ”closer” a person is to a given power structure (say, by virtue of shared superficial characteristics like race, class, gender, or ethnicity) then the more inappropriately over-valued their opinion has been; so, the less valid it is. It has a sliding scale of validity; based on shared (often superficIal) traits with those in & out of power. 

      In short, it purports to fight marginalization by employing marginalizing: It conflates ‘privilege’ with (a negative & inappropriate) bias, rather than responsibility. It’s paradoxical logic, and there’s something fundamentally illiberal about it, because it’s rooted in the idea that monolithic class-concepts are immutable truths, but that individual autonomy, consciousness, & conscience aren’t. After all, no one’s ever said to someone: ‘Check your privilege’ with the meaning or implication that ‘check it, and once finding it sound, employ it here judiciously’ no, no- what they mean is ‘shut the Hell up- because your opinion is collectively less valid.’ IMHO.               

  16. And there you go Pete…
    When people can’t deal with their hurt feelings we end up with zero tolerance rules…
    And people,censored at work for complimenting a co-worker and children are suspended from kindergarten for kissing classmates- and then the DOJ is sending memos to,school districts saying WTF.

  17. Mostly_123 says:

    It’s certainly right and proper to say that life is an ongoing exercise in empathy- but it should be remembered as well that empathy is not a open-ended, unqualified, or unlimited commitment – there has to be some measure of balance, rather than simply saying or believing that the squeakiest wheel is always the rightest one, simply because it has squeaked: The most offended person in the room does not automatically inherit the mantle of moral superiority in proportion to the magnitude of their offendedness; simply & only by virtue of the fact that they are offended.   

    I’ve said this once before, but it think it bears repeating here: That it’s foolish and dangerously short-sighted to assume that one can always judge one’s own actions & attitudes fairly and impartially, without any bias. BUT, it’s equally foolish and irresponsible to assume that because of that, then one simply CANNOT (or should not try to) do it at all. A lot of people say ‘reflect on what you did’ when what they really want or mean is ‘see it from my point of view, and you’ll realize I’m right- accommodate Me’ and that’s all well and good. But sometimes, upon reflection, that other point of view IS wrong (if there even is an actual, quantifiable ‘right’ or ‘wrong’). To assume that one’s own self can never be right because of personal bias or ‘privilege’ is just as bad as assuming one can never be wrong because of it: It just transfers the responsibility (and the power) from one party to another. One should rightly then be very cautious and discerning about when, how, and who they differ their better judgment to.

    Frankly, I find the argument in last paragraph of the article to be particularly weak: It appeals to fear (potential fear: ‘you’ll-be-sorry-then’) rather than personal integrity or reason; “Because one day you’re going to be on the other side of the calm-down-it’s-just-a-joke argument, and when that time comes you are going to bitterly regret every single instance in which you downplayed or ignored someone what someone else was trying to tell you.” 

    Perhaps.
    But if that day comes, when it comes, how it comes, I would hope that I’ll at least be able to say that I had the courage and strength of character to stand by my opinions & convictions; that there was some logical and intellectual integrity & backbone behind them. In the end, the only guide to a person is their intellect, their integrity, and their conscience. Abandon those, and you’re bound to be in trouble; even if it is just to accommodate and validate everyone & everything else, and to make everyone smile. After all, the most politically correct person in the room is not necessarily the rightest person in the room. 

    Empathy given without integrity (or at the price of integrity) is an empty gift; because empathy & compassion are fundamentally rooted in intellect & introspection, not something that’s tossed away pell-mell like confetti. Empathize, yes, but evaluate too: You can’t separate one from the other. Unconditional, unqualified, absolutist validation is not worth the paper it’s printed on.      

  18. Mostly_123 says:

    “So I guess it all boils down to what kind of person you want to be – do you want to be someone who is caring and compassionate, someone who takes others’ feelings into consideration? Or do you want to be someone who is always right? Because there’s no way that you can be both.”

    Not even just a bit of hyperbole there? 
    You make it all sound so unseemly- as though the unequivocal price of decency & compassion is integrity. It’s false choice, and it’s grotesquely manipulative to frame it as such. I’m not saying that you’re wrong, or anything like that; I’m just saying that if you don’t agree with me then you’re the type of person who loves to punch kittens and hates rainbows. 

  19. John Anderson says:

    I think it’s a great post and is something I’ve been thinking about and haven’t come to a decision yet. I tend to want to give lots of leeway to artists. Should we ban rape scenes or murder scenes from movies because it may be offensive to some? What about words used in songs? Repeating a joke is to some extent art as it’s a form of comedy.

    I don’t know that you can live your life in constant concern that you’ll offend someone. What if the person takes offense at the color you’re wearing. Sounds stupid, but wear orange on St. Patrick’s Day.. I didn’t know that was an insult to the Irish because of William of Orange and I’m part Irish although not raised Irish. Of course, orange is OK on any other day of the year.

  20. Adam Blanch says:

    There are people who exercise a great deal of control and power over others by getting offended, so much so that they have made it into an art form.

  21. A society that always adapts to favour its most sensitive, reactive, offence-taking, immature, and thin-skinned members will privilege and encourage the heightening of such behaviours. The result is that offence-taking and claiming victimhood become competitive endeavours, ways to twist society in our direction. We develop in the direction of immaturity Rather than growing out of such behaviours, people will be encouraged to become increasingly sensitive, increasingly emotionally fragile, and increasingly unable to stand on their own two feet. They become like children who always cry or throw a fit when anything goes against their will, running to their mummy, expecting her to take their side and to reprimand or punish everyone else for not being ‘nice’. It is a reversion to the emotional reactivity and immaturity of childhood.

    The healthier alternative is to ensure that such bone china, beautiful soul, psyches are restricted to safe reservations of social interaction and discouraged from entering those important, adult, areas of social interaction where emotional maturity, non-reactivity, and thick skins are required. Of course, what one soon discovers is that, not entirely unlike tantrum throwing two-year-olds, such offence-takers are often more concerned with using their sensitivity as a weapon to get the rest of the world to conform to their will than they are with protecting their vulnerable selves.

    • I have to disagree with your analysis of the situation.

      What YOU seem to be disregarding is the fact that these people have been silenced throughout the course of history. Their perspectives, their ideologies have not been taken into account – and, in fact, have been reduced to a joke. They speak up because the tides are changing. People are becoming more comfortable in challenging the violent, and dangerous, norms of society.

      Rather than blaming an individual for being too sensitive, perhaps you should self-reflect and consider how your joke may have been harmful. Why your joke may have been problematic. For, this person who spoke up is more than likely just a figurehead – a representation of many individuals (a whole community, maybe!) who are harmed by these “jokes.”

      Further, your reduction of these people to mere children only aids in continuing the project of these harmful jokes. In both cases, entire groups of people are represented as child-like, funny caricatures of their reality.

      • Mostly_123 says:

        “What YOU seem to be disregarding is the fact that these people have been silenced throughout the course of history. Their perspectives, their ideologies have not been taken into account – and, in fact, have been reduced to a joke.”

        Which people? By whom? The original article is so heavily couched in situational vagaries and generalities that it seems like everyone is apt to be the victim and victimizer; I can’t even tell what agenda it’s trying to push anymore- just don’t offend anyone ‘Because one day you’re going to be on the other side of the calm-down-it’s-just-a-joke argument’

        The measure of any democratic society is how it balances the rights & beliefs of the majority with the rights & beliefs of the minority; and how well it protects the truly vulnerable in its society. These are not one-dimensional questions with easy, one-size-fits-all sound-bite Hallmark greeting card answers. Once again though, I feel obliged to point out that ideological, intellectual, or moral legitimacy is  not calculated simply by the inverse proportion of one’s disaffection from the current power structure. An idea’s legitimacy (or an individual who espouses it) is not automatically made that much more legitimate (or, for that matter, illegitimate) simply in proportion to its present unpopularity with a/the majority. It’s opposite thinking to presume that somehow the metric of an idea’s legitimacy & validity is the number of people in the majority who OPPOSE it, rather than espouse it, particularly in a liberal democracy. The person who says: ‘The more people who hate my ideas, the righter they are’ might be wrong or might be right; But the fact that any given idea or ideology lacks approbation is itself not a measure of anything.                          

  22. This is an excellent article and explains perfectly in ways that some other blogs on social issues seem to gloss over in lieu of angry rants or attacks on others for “not knowing any better”. I appreciate that immensely.

    However, in regards to this quote:

    “Which is why I’m ultimately baffled when people wonder aloud if they’re supposed to look at everything critically and worry about its potential to harm others. Because yes. Yes, that is exactly what you are supposed to do.”

    This is a question I constantly ask myself and others and find I have no answers for. On one hand, as someone who believes in fighting for what’s right, it’s important to do this. But on the other, I find that constantly thinking critically and trying to point out harm in almost everything (see: “call out culture) can potentially lead to similar self righteousness, the need to prove yourself right (which this article itself says can be harmful on the opposite side), or in the case of myself and others suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD and the like… I find that constantly having the mindset of “social justice fighter” and finding fault in everything can be EXTREMELY anxiety inducing. It’s not so much as it’s ruining our fun as you put it, but in some cases it can be beyond emotionally draining and taxing on ourselves to do this at every waking minute.

    To use myself as an example, I’ve been told that if I am not constantly questioning or standing up for what’s right, I have no right to call myself a feminist, or an ally. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the matter. Sometimes my knee jerk reaction IS to tell someone what they are doing is harmful, but I have tried time and time again and they do not get it through to them. However, I have seen many positives come from this even if I myself cannot handle the burden anymore (and no, I don’t expect the marginalized or oppressed to educate, but I also don’t see the point in everyone not looking to educate each other even in small ways).

    The positives I have seen include folks who I once saw using harmful slang words, or have a certain attitude about things, completely change their way of thinking, even a year later. And I’m certain that most of these people had disagreed with me when I tried to originally say something to them, and then gave up thinking they were a lost cause, only to be pleasantly surprised later on. Even as adults, we sometimes are greatly influenced by our social surroundings. If one person changes their mindset, that alone can be a massively powerful example to someone else, even if said person has not said anything. In this case, I feel the old saying “actions speak louder than words” can apply greatly here.

    So this is just something to think about. I find it too emotionally exhausting on myself to constantly critique everything and everyone around me. I know someone reading this will probably accuse me of being “part of the problem” by putting my own self-care first (and I apologize if you think that is what I’m trying to do… it’s not) at times. But in truth, even if you yourself take a step back, there are others out there still speaking. I’m seeing people whom I would have thought would never change do a complete 180. Also the saying, even if you step aside, someone else will pick up the slack, so to speak.

    Not sure if any of this is making sense, but I don’t think there should be an absolute requirement for someone to constantly critique and speak out if they aren’t emotionally equipped for it.

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