“Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you are right.”
As I wander along the road of self-discovery and Life in general, it has finally dawned on me that being offended by everything takes an extreme amount of energy. I have realized that being offended by what others may choose for themselves is a seriously futile practice. Frankly, unless it affects my life path or that person is putting themselves in danger and I am able to assist in their well-being it’s none of my goddamn business. Life gives us many opportunities to learn certain lessons and this one has seemed to repeat itself frequently in my story. I needed to learn the lesson that being offended by anything and everything was, and is, an utter waste of time.
To be offended oftentimes points a finger at the offended individual being judgemental. I too have been guilty of such a practice. Judgemental of choices and beliefs that are sometimes passed along from generation to generation or as simple as self-assertiveness against indoctrinated beliefs that are not in sync with an individual. I truly believe that each and every one of us needs to make mistakes here and there. It’s whether we learn anything from these errors or decisions that aren’t necessarily constructive on our journey that can shape us into incredible human beings. To be offended or uppity about someone else’s journey is at its core ignorant. When I use the term ignorant I use it in the sense of without understanding. Ignorant of all that brought that person to that point. Whether it be an action, a reaction, or a belief. How dare we presume to know what is true to someone else’s Spirit simply because it isn’t what we would choose for ourselves? Perhaps a lapse in truly understanding oneself was at play and that is not for us to judge for we too have probably made errors in judgement at some point or another ourselves. To think we are above scrutiny or slipups would be beyond ridiculous.
It all comes down to one little tidbit; we need to get over ourselves. Myself included.
This may sound harsh in itself but if we really dig deep it becomes quite evident that it is all the pretenses and fabrication of what is right/wrong that we have led ourselves to believe that becomes the issue. Who says I need to eat a certain way to be the healthiest me that I can be? Why should I not laugh uproariously if I find something comical? Why should a female have a “ladylike” career? Why is blame or shaming thought an appropriate response when a female is raped and it becomes part of her life story? How could a family member turn their back on another due to a difference in opinion? These are the simple questions but it goes much deeper.
I question myself often when I feel offended by something. I ponder why I react with offense and negative emotion. I often come to the conclusion that something that offends me is generally outside my personal understanding or comfort zone. Occasionally it all boils down to my ego being bruised. This is ludicrous in itself, really. Upon asking myself why I feel the need to get agitated or judgy I often realize it is from not opening my mind enough and getting all tight within my thoughts of what should be.We need to drop the pretenses that we know what’s best for others strictly on how we choose to live and think. We need to more often than not keep our opinions to ourselves unless asked. Let others be who they need to be as they will evolve into the Spirit they are meant to be.
I am not suggesting we accept anything and everything under the guise of freedom of expression. Especially if it infringes on others well-being and life path. What I do suggest is that compassion and the effort of opening ones mind be centre stage before we criticize.
” Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. it requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding. “
Life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we are here to learn. I think the past five years there were many stepping stones to the platter of lessons I have recently been blessed with. I say blessed like it’s a gift because quite honestly I look upon all things as gifts. Sometimes they are not gifts we would choose for ourselves, like opening a parcel with a nasty sweater at Christmas. Still gifts just the same. I have unwrapped a few unwanted gifts as of late. I won’t go into great detail due to the private nature and those close to me but to generalize the situations for the sake of soul-searching and allowing a connection with others that may possibly have recently opened a similar gift.
As a parent, I have been given the lesson of stepping outside my comfort zone. Not just the daily run of the mill parent craziness. Children are a supreme blessing in my mind. Swirling around them in constant motion are many things; love, chaos, frustration, joy, laughter, among so many other beautiful things. Sometimes though, a ripple in the smooth surface depicts an undercurrent that threatens menacingly. The demon reared its ugly head in my child’s life as Anorexia Nervosa. It was a slow and steady build up that went undetected by my cautious eye only to attack with a vengeance like an unexpected sucker punch. I struggled within myself originally, laying blame in my mind where I could. That route was fleeting as I stepped outside myself. This wasn’t about me and how I felt. This was about my child and how they processed things. The alteration to my thought process has allowed me to become the support structure this fragile Being needs. Simply, compassionately, I remain strong in the notion that I need to be the rock when my darling is feeling at a loss. There are those around us that still want to lay blame, find the root cause, or dissect everything to bits. I feel the process is about gaining back self love and control in a positive format. To know that love from those around the sufferer is unconditional. To be strong for them when they don’t have it within themselves to be. There is a long road ahead to health and wellness for my child. It’s an all-encompassing disorder. Treatment is multi-faceted. To say I wish my child never had to deal with this is an understatement. However, taking this one day at a time makes this lesson a little easier to deal with.
Too often I hear people complain about their weight needlessly. Who truly thinks a thigh gap is remotely sexy anyway? Don’t get your knickers in a knot if you are naturally thin and have a thigh gap. That’s a totally different thing. I’m referring to young girls (or boys) that starve themselves for this look that is not natural to their physique. It breaks my heart to see people think so poorly of themselves as to deprive themselves senselessly of proper nutrition. Learning to love and accept our bodies at their natural weight and shape is a practice in self love. We are all constantly bombarded by utter ridiculousness for the sake of industries to prosper at the peril of making us feel bad about our outer shell. Looking good is important for self confidence but being healthy makes one look fantastic! I don’t know about you but looking fantastic due to great health pummels the heck out of a mediocre “looking like everyone else” or not enough energy to do the things you want. I struggle when people ridicule others with differing figures. It matters not whether its an obese person calling a slim woman a bitch or an average built person being condescending to someone of heavier stance. Having hit many different weight points in my lifetime, I realize that every body shape and weight deals with some sort of stigma. When we stop ridiculing and scrutinizing others, perhaps we can all go a little easier on ourselves. Lets all just aim for healthy!
Life lessons abound these days. I suppose it’s because I’m listening. I feel the winds of change blowing and it has made me slow down and take stock of not just what’s going on inside of me but those around me as well. It’s fascinating when we open ourselves up, even a smidgen, to hear what the Universe wants us to hear. The tools we need right now to grow and learn the lessons we are supposed to learn. Some days those lessons are like a slap and are uncomfortable, but necessary. Other days, it is as though the sun breaks through the clouds and I feel the warmth of love radiate.
Today brought an interesting encounter which has made me ponder the presence of life lessons. Let me take you back to a few days before Christmas to set the scene. I had been out with some friends and we were all headed back to our cars when one of my friends and I noticed that we each had a parking ticket. I felt rather perturbed at this fact since I was less than ten minutes from my allotted time running out. At almost the exact moment I noticed the ticket on my windshield, a homeless man approached me and asked me for a twoonie (that’s a two dollar Canadian coin, just in case you weren’t sure). I was so caught up in my own thoughts I instantly apologized that I didn’t have any change (which I honestly didn’t) and moaned about having just gotten a ticket. The man apologized to me…for my having a ticket. I felt like a self-absorbed, entitled brat for having said what I did. This man’s kindness made me stop and think about my flippant thought process. Lesson learned, or so I thought.
I don’t go downtown often, but when I do parking is scarce and I always remember that less than stellar parking ticket incident. Today I was running downtown to pick up lunch for a friend that is temporarily housebound and myself. I scored a great parking spot right by the location I was headed to and there was even time still left on the meter! My footsteps were light…I counted myself lucky. As I was walking away from my car, a man approached me and asked me for a twoonie. Normally, I am ashamed to admit, I feel a bit apprehensive about handing people money. I’d much prefer to supply them with a cup of coffee or something to eat if I have the opportunity and means to do so. However, my hand instinctively slid into my pocket and pulled out a two dollar coin and handed it to the man. As I set it in his palm I looked him directly in the eye as he thanked me and said “Bless you.” To my surprise, this was the same man who I had moaned about my parking ticket to before Christmas. It was an instant realization that I was given another opportunity to learn my lesson. To think first and foremost with kindness, to send out the consideration of another person’s needs in the moment, to not judge based on a preconceived idea. Sure, this man could be a millionaire that poses as someone in need. He may have a substance abuse problem. He could be whatever nonsense we tell ourselves to validate our fears of avoiding lending a kindness to a stranger. I’d like to think that he is first and foremost a man who needs a bit of human kindness and a couple of dollars.
I don’t normally blog about current events but yesterday’s Boston Marathon bomb fiasco has touched my psyche to the point where I feel the need to write down my thoughts. I was at work, nearing the end of my day when a co-worker mentioned what she had heard on the news in her truck. When she first said that there were two bombs that had exploded my first reaction was disbelief. I thought perhaps I had misunderstood. Then the bits and pieces that were known thus far were reported and my body went cold. You know that wash of cold that starts at the top of your head and rushes down every inch of your body? I felt numb. I needed more information so I could process what I was hearing while at the same time I didn’t want to hear more.
As I drove home after work yesterday, radio stations were awash with reports on what had taken place, the increasing tally of injured persons, and speculation as to who could be responsible. At this point, I am overcome with compassion for those that were affected by this horrid act. Those whose lives have been changed forever. My heart has been saddened by such a senseless attack on humanity. I would like to extend my condolences to loved ones of the victims as well as my wishes for a timely recovery for those that were wounded. My thoughts are with all of you that were in attendance as well. How could anyone want to injure others and families out for a day of cheering each other on while accomplishing great personal goals? My thoughts keep coming back to the question “what is wrong with people?” Seriously. Why are acts upon unthreatening and peaceful people committed? Although simplistic in essence, why can’t everyone just get along?
This got me thinking. Perhaps a simple state of mind is where we need to return to process this information. Back to the basics of human compassion. Let’s just all get along.
Society seems to have this crazed need for retaliation at whatever cost. I’m sure that the media will be pointing their contorted fingers soon enough and getting everyone all riled up. Look at the greatest atrocities throughout history and it usually stems back to a dislike toward differing opinions such as religion, race, or gender. These acts in turn create a wave of persecution and hatred thrown in sweeping generalizations about certain communities. . If we just got down to the nitty-gritty we would understand that we are all human. We all feel emotions. We all need food and water. We all want to be treated with kindness and compassion. What does it really matter where we live, what we look like, or how much money we have? It really doesn’t. There will always be a few bad apples on the tree of life but that doesn’t mean the tree should be chopped down. The goodness that is on the tree still exists whether the bad apples are there or not. Don’t ignore the amazing apples in light of the few spoiled ones. When we work together great things can evolve. Hopefully in light of the events that took place yesterday at the Boston Marathon we can try to keep from playing the blame game until the bad apple(s) fall from the tree. The person(s) that chose to plant these bombs acted out individually. They made that decision. At any point in time they could have had second thoughts and stopped themselves, but they didn’t. May I present to you the bad apple(s). There are far too many horrific events taking place that we are needing to process. We are all in some way trying to take it all in. Blaming others doesn’t make the atrocity go away, it only makes us bitter. Use your energy to show compassion to others whether it be to those in attendance during the events of yesterday or someone you know that just needs their spirits lifted. We can allow tragic events to dominate our thoughts or we can choose to spread kindness and confidence in humanity.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama