At the risk of offending you…
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)!