Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
A few months ago I signed into Facebook and the first post on my newsfeed was a sign that said “Good morning everyone! What are we offended by today?” I literally laughed out loud at the sarcastic bold truth.
Certainly not to say that we shouldn’t get offended, but has our obsession with telling the world our offended opinion really become the petty attention we want and the energy we exude? Are we grasping onto anything to fight for or against, just to be heard and is chronic offended feelings associated with a deeper ego issue?
Case in point, the sad news of the Cincinnati Zoo where the young boy fell into the enclosure with an agitated and erratic 400-pound lowland gorilla. This was a really sad scenario. I am sure the parents of that child will have nightmares for years seeing their child tossed around like a rag doll. I believe the zoo officials that cared for this beauty of a creature felt sick with the difficult decision to end the gorilla’s life.
Without a word of a lie, I saw opinions by outraged animal rights activists, blame and shame expressed against parents, outcry by vegans and even opinions by atheists. Instead of an outpouring of compassion for all involved there was a viral surge of offended opinions.
Why are we so darn offended? When a person has a differing opinion from our own or we hear about some worldly event, are we taking it so personally that we can’t refrain from lashing out and chastising the offender-of-choice through our status updates, tweets, gossip and comments to each other?
I am not speaking about equality, civil rights and human rights, where I do believe our voice has power. Nor am I talking about expressing your feelings honestly to people. But when someone’s view is different than ours but has no harmful effects to us or others, or an uncontrollable situation occurs, do we really need to be offended, cast judgment and fight the fight?
Joanne Friedman, psychology and human behavior author, shares “true offense is generally a result of the offended person feeling as if the offender is purposely, blatantly, denigrating a deeply-held belief system or a personal quality that the offended person takes pride in or is embarrassed about but can't change. The rest is knee-jerk related to a desire to belong to a group of any kind.”
Is being offended the new emotional junk food that has addicted the masses?
Perhaps human ego is in the driver’s seat, having an intense need to feel right, admired, important, and successful and so on. When we live ego-based we can be petty, offended and immature in a state of self-protection.
“If we are constantly offended by other people’s thoughts and actions, if we constantly feel the need to point out where everyone else is wrong and we are right, then we know that we are living primarily out of our small self (ego). This is a miserable way to live.” – Richard Rohr, author and teacher.
An old friend recently told me that she deleted her Facebook account. Her reasoning was she was sick of people bragging about their kids. Quite honestly, I was confused. I could actually understand this a little more if she was not a mother, but she was. It was difficult to comprehend to me how someone could be offended by their friends sharing proud parent moments on social media.
But with all things, there is a yin to the yang and I saw a fabulous post (unknown source) on Facebook that read similar to this:
To the pregnant women on social media posting constant updates and belly pictures... 'I love seeing how excited you are to become a mom. You are creating life!'
To those posting selfies... 'thanks for letting people know that it's okay to love yourself and to feel beautiful!'
To the parent posting a million pictures of your kids... 'it makes my heart so happy to see parents so proud and loving their babies!'
To the married couple constantly posting "sappy love posts"... 'thank you for being a reminder to us all that all hope isn't lost and happy marriages most definitely DO exist.'
To the business owners who constantly post about their businesses... 'keep going! Your strong will and passion for what you do is astounding!'
To the person posting about their fitness journey and how they decided to change their lifestyle for health reasons or just to look or feel better about themselves... 'I love seeing your progress pictures, your healthy meals and your gym check-ins! You are inspiring many.'
To the stay-at-home mom posting about how awesome their days go being able to cook and or bake often for their family... 'I love seeing all you can do with your kids and all those pictures you get to take of the moments you don't want to forget.'
To the person posting about how challenging their work day was... 'I love seeing how you manage yourself to be a good person.'
To the strong people in recovery, fighting to stay alive and see another day clean and sober, and the parents who want to be there to see their children grow up... 'keep posting your positive posts because you could be helping someone else!'
To those of you who share your pictures of your amazing holidays and travel... 'keep posting, I love seeing so many different parts of the world and sometimes this is the only way others get to see this beautiful world we live in.'
It’s good for our health to feel happy, rather than offended. Let's stop being annoyed by everything, agree to disagree and start lifting each other up!
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