Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm offended

It's been awhile since I've written a blog post like this, and I'm probably opening myself up to some criticism but I'm feeling like I need to share my viewpoint on things. Especially in light of some opinions I've seen posted about different presidential candidates.

This is not a political post, at least not in my eyes. I'm not saying who I think you should vote for. I'm not sticking up for one candidate verses another. You might say you've figured out which way I'm leaning, but to be honest, at this point in the ball game I have no idea. I'm not thrilled with either choice. That's probably about as political as I'm going to get.

What I really want to talk about is offense. How's that for being subtle? :) There was a time in my life when I would walk on egg shells around a particular person because I was afraid of offending them. It felt like anything I said could and would be taken as me trying to offend them when in reality it was the furthest thing from my mind. It became so stifling and hard to live that I finally stopped doing it. The moment I allowed myself to not worry about whether or not something I said was offensive was very freeing. I knew in my heart that I wasn't intending to offend someone. I wasn't out to cause hurt. I wasn't purposely trying to say hurtful things. And I couldn't control how someone would react to what I would say. I began to take control of what I could control and let the rest go.

It feels like a lot of what is being said in the media about a particular someone is that they are abrasive and offensive. Here's the thing about offense, it's a choice. Even if the person meant to be hurtful, that doesn't mean I have to believe them. It doesn't mean I have to take those words to heart, internalize them, and allow them to shape and affect who I am. That's my choice. Remember the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me?" I believe that.

Now don't get me wrong, words can hurt and they do hurt. But again, do I allow them to shape who I am and what I think of myself? No. Do I think about them and sometimes cry about them? Yes, but I give myself a time limit and when that time is up, I do my best to push it aside. Those words are not who I am.

A friend recently posted that she's afraid of the influence of someone on society because of their viewpoints toward women. She's afraid for her daughters and what that influence will do toward their future husbands. Even if these viewpoints trickle down into society, which I have no doubt they may, are we going to allow them to shape who we are and who our kids think they are? This is where I firmly believe the teaching of parents comes into play. 

As a parent, I firmly believe it is my job to teach my children appropriate viewpoints toward others. In fact, in a the general women's conference this past weekend, Sister Bonnie Oscarson quoted President Russell M. Nelson saying, "...we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation."

This tells us that it is our duty to teach our children what is right, not society. We should not depend on society to educate our children on correct principals not only religiously but socially as well. Because they will teach them incorrect ideas. So if society has a less than stellar viewpoint of women, it is our job to educate our precious little ones on what is an appropriate viewpoint of women. We need to teach them how to stand up for that and show the world how women should be treated. Teach them that it's okay to think differently. It's okay to voice our opinions. It's okay to stand up for the harder right even though friends are choosing the easier wrong. Society doesn't dictate how they should feel and what they should think.

Personally, I will not allow society to dictate that to my children. Do they still have their agency? Yes. I can teach them the best to my ability and they still may decide to go their own way, but it won't be because I didn't do my best to teach them.

Some may say that I don't have the same perspective and fear because I don't have a daughter. I may not have a daughter but I have sons who will be dating and marrying someone else's daughter and I will teach them the appropriate way to view women and the appropriate way to treat a woman.

So when someone is speaking to you and you feel those stirrings in your gutt saying you don't like what is being said, what are you going to do? If someone speaks harshly, is abrasive, is rude, says things that aren't PC, speaking offensively, how are you going to react? Are you going to allow those hurtful things to fester inside of you? Are you going to allow yourself to be offended and in turn say hurtful things toward others? How are you going to choose to react?

What's interesting is I've found that more often than not, the people that are extremely offended are those who are outside of the conversation. It's not the people who the comments were directed toward. Most of the time those individuals are forgiving, kind, gracious, and respectful to whomever said the harsh words. It's relatives, friends, co-workers, and other outside acquaintances that are the most offended. Again, this is just my opinion. Yours may differ. This is just what I've noticed in my own observations.

Please don't take this as I'm perfect in this area. Words still affect me. It's a daily battle it seems like for me not to be offended, but in the end I come to the same conclusion. I will not be acted upon, I will act. I will choose not to be offended because the other person cannot choose for me, even if their intent is to offend, I will not let them tell me how to feel. How are you going to choose to react?

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