words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

At the risk of offending you…

Yesterday I sat down to write my blogkeep calm and think before you speak

There was something I wanted to write about. This issue had been popping up in various forums all week. It was something that was frustrating me, making me feel angry — and I was feeling quite fired up about it.

There was quite a bit I wanted to say. Some of it was likely to be controversial.

But the trouble was, there was too much I wanted to say — so I edited it.

There was too much that was controversial — so I cut it out.

I ran the risk of offending people — so I toned it down.

And then, there wasn’t much left at all.

It left me wondering how often do we do this? Feel like we have something important to say but water it down because we don’t want to offend people. Feel like people won’t be interested in our point of view so we shorten our conversation.

On the other hand, sometimes we do share what we feel is important but do so while we are still feeling emotional about it.

When this happens, our arguments are not well formed, we usually offend people, (hey, sometimes we don’t care if we offend people), and we lose credibility. I think I was at risk of this yesterday, despite the fact that I strongly believed in what I was writing.

It seems to me that there is a delicate balance of being ‘true to yourself’ and what you believe in, and respecting where others are at.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that we were once where they were — thinking the same things, believing the same things — and we become impatient because we have ‘moved on’ and they have not.

We feel we have the right to ‘preach’ to them that our way of thinking is right and theirs is wrong.

We project our morals, values and beliefs on them, and get frustrated when they don’t measure up to our expectations.

Instead, we should be meeting them where they are. We should understand that their path is not ours. We should remember that they have a right to look at things with different eyes.

That doesn’t mean that we should not speak up about issues we feel strongly about.

It simply means we need to think a little more before we speak.

So, the issue that I wanted to write about has been put on the shelf for a while. I still feel very strongly about it and I will write about it one day.

But for now, the moral of the story is ‘think a little before we speak’ (or write, in my case)!

Cheers.

 

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5 thoughts on “At the risk of offending you…

  1. “On the other hand, sometimes we do share what we feel is important but do so while we are still feeling emotional about it.” This is the point right here. Say what’s on your mind, but make sure you’re being objective. I have trouble with this, and even though everyone says you should do it, I still have trouble remembering to take fifteen minutes or so before I come back to a point that’s controversial to discuss it. Let your brain air out. Say what’s important, but be reasonable, and no one can contend with you. Delivery is everything.

  2. Nerissa firstly I am of course naturally intrigued and will be earnestly following your blog to discover the issue causing you angst. I agree it is such a fine line between holding back too much and then emotionally ranting too soon. I often write things down while emotional and then step away for as long as it takes to calm down. Then I edit while preserving the essence of my message.

  3. Nerissa firstly I am of course naturally intrigued and will be earnestly following your blog to discover the issue causing you angst. I agree it is such a fine line between holding back too much and then emotionally ranting too soon. I often write things down while emotional and then step away for as long as it takes to calm down. Then I edit while preserving the essence of my message.

  4. Karen – I have kept the blog I wrote initially so sometime in the future, I can look at it a bit more objectively without the emotion attached to it. It’s an issue that many people feel strongly about, so something that will need to be carefully considered when writing about it.

  5. Pearson – sometimes I think we can do more harm than good simply ‘letting words out of our mouth’ because we have something on our mind. I think if you do have a valid point to make, then people are more likely to listen to a carefully thought, well-considered, point of view, rather than emotional ramblings! That said, I agree. It is sometimes very difficult to shut one’s mouth (or pen)!

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