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Happy New Year, Happy HP Anniversary

Updated on May 6, 2016
Just because it's popular doesn't make it smart.
Just because it's popular doesn't make it smart. | Source

Celebrating the 6th Anniversary with the New Year

It’s neat that my HubPages anniversary passes near the year’s end, close to a time when I have a chance to think over a few things for the new calendar. A topic has been buzzing around much of what I’ve read and heard lately and, finally, it has come into focus in the form of a question.


What’s so Bad about Being Offended?

The word offense generally means to break a law, to feel insulted or dismissed, to either defend someone or some thing, or attack it. The various definitions used for this same word are an interesting study in themselves but my focus is mainly on feeling insulted.

Living in a society that says feeling offended is a tragic thing caused me to begin thinking through whether we are on the right track with the notion. At first thought, the good idea of not hurting other people’s feelings seems to be at the root of it all.

However, a second look at the idea is a bit unsettling. Imagine a world where offending someone was against the law. Sounds a bit too familiar in our current sociopolitical climate, actually, but seriously, think about the ramifications.

Let me try thinking instead.  Indeed.
Let me try thinking instead. Indeed. | Source

Have any of us ever hurt someone’s feelings inadvertently? Expressed our own true feelings when we did not realize how doing so would make another feel? Not felt well physically, emotionally, or spiritually and so not responded as we would have if we were not suffering in some way ourselves?

How about in writing? Have we not at some point tried to express ourselves in writing and found that others did not understand our intention because we had not been careful enough, had not taken enough time to think through and then to proof our own work? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg.

Consider what it would mean to make any of that against the law. Depending on who you talk to, some say that fines, public humiliation, and even jail time are viable solutions. Besides courts being already quite busy, imagine the increased tax burden we would all bear for addressing such laws!

Free speech is the obvious big concern regarding the issue, but much has already been written on losing it. Just a mention of it is all that this hub needs, though it could be helpful for readers to add input on that facet of this topic in the comments below.


Outlaw Offenses?

Do you think hurting others' feelings should be outlawed?

See results

Can Being Offended have Benefits?

What would it mean if we were never offended by another person so that we had to stop and rethink our words or actions? What would the world be like if we never had the chance to see some error we are making, to perceive a misunderstanding, or were never given the chance to review an issue so we can restate our case more clearly?

Those are some genuine positives. They are opportunities to help us grow and hone our thinking, our words, and our actions. It’s easy to see that the concept is nicely wrapped in the truth of how we should value our critics.

If offended we get to choose to go on the offensive or step back and think through a response that would provide personal growth and which could possibly have the potential of helping other people, perhaps the offender as well as onlookers.

Stepping backwards is an act that strengthens us even if the offense is outrageous. If we will move away from our feelings and address the issue by seeking wisdom and encouraging ourselves to deal with it in an honestly reasonable fashion we win no matter the outcome of the issue at hand.

By setting our feelings aside we gain important things like strength and insight and skill for continuing to deal with the current issue and for having best responses to future ones. Instead of being degraded and demoralized we are invigorated for clearer thinking.

We can wind up in the proverbial fetal position sucking our thumbs or we can move forward with confidence that we are at least seeking the best for everyone involved rather than becoming like an offender, insisting that our feelings are the most important part of life.


An unreliable tongue cannot be trusted.
An unreliable tongue cannot be trusted. | Source

About Feelings...

So what’s the problem with thinking that our feelings are one of life’s priorities? The answer is so large that it’s overwhelming at first thought, but let’s at least have a start with hurt feelings.

Feelings change, ebbing and flowing as thoughts race, hormones rage. and situations evolve. Feelings can switch from disinterest to white hot anger faster than time moves forward.

Hurt feelings can convince us that revenge is called for when we are offended, that offenses to our emotions always require retaliation. They deceptively deny malice’s malignant work in our souls.

Hurt feelings demand singular attention to their whims and they worsen dramatically if they do not get their stipulated flattery. Such feelings blind and cripple us to truth that could honestly help us.

Generally, feelings, if permitted, are relentless in their requirements and too often separate us from family and friends, commonly leaving them confused. The master named emotion inexplicably obliges his servants to serve only his shifty will.

Manipulative people zone in on those who live by their feelings, using their handicap to control and injure either physically, mentally, or emotionally. While it’s true that there are various good and bad feelings, we need to consciously keep them under control because facts we may not be aware of trounce the entire spectrum of human sentiment and passion.

It’s not that we should completely dismiss our own or others’ feelings. Not at all, for there are many reasons we need to be keenly aware of them. Some are to be enjoyed, but on topic, if we dismiss them we lose a valuable tool in difficult situations.

For instance, we need to consider what they are doing to us or others at any given moment so we can respond appropriately, with compassion if the need warrants it or with levelheaded authority if that is required for the well-being and safety of everyone involved.


Yes, it all depends on certain factors.
Yes, it all depends on certain factors. | Source

Real Life Application Side Notes

Training in the medical, sports, police, and military disciplines teaches people to focus on what the real needs and/or goals are in situations. Many people who go through those disciplines find that the focus they learn to maintain in the face of offenses (impediments) allows them do well in other areas of life.

The other side of the coin, though, was highlighted for me by a personal situation that recently came up. My husband and I had the chance to discuss the truth of how if you build a bridge to an enemy he will cross it. A rule that says do not negotiate with terrorist tells us that bridge building is not always a bright solution.

It is delicate business to determine whether an offender is someone in need who can be helped or simply settled with so all can walk away safely, or whether they are a true enemy. Learning from experience with people is generally helpful but that does not happen if we live by our feelings.

While playing nice so everyone can get along is a lovely proposal, compromise, bridge building, agreements, deals, bargains, treaties all mean less than nothing to a true enemy. They are simply more tools to be used for harm.

In most of our minds, hurting people's feelings is never the goal, particularly on personal levels, but it happens. We live in a fallen world that is not evolving for the better. If you are familiar with much of my writing you know something of what I mean by that statement and how thankful I am for God's grace.

We can all ask ourselves if we have learned to take authority over our various feelings rather than letting them rule us. Communication reached through active listening is known to be helpful when negotiating offenses we encounter in life, but it cannot be accomplished if our feelings get in the way.


Respecting others begins with a proper view of self.
Respecting others begins with a proper view of self. | Source

Focus when Feeling Offended

Primarily, what matters is that basing responses to situations on facts is the real need. We should train ourselves to remember that before reacting we need to realize that not only do we not know all the facts of why someone offended us, we probably never will. That alone should help us have a more mature reaction.

By getting to that point quickly we can move forward in bad situations on a foundation of strong influence that could bring positive results, possibly even preventing or stopping true harm in its tracks, though it may be that a mature reaction will help us think about the wisdom of how walking away is sometimes the only way to diffuse an offender.

That we will be vexed in life is an important fact to understand. We need to build young people's character by showing them how best to respond to inevitable offenses rather than teaching them (or allowing them to be taught) that they should uselessly rebel at insults. Grievances may be valid, but the best responses to them have to be learned.

Learning that they can give deliberate consideration to situations rather than emoting situationally will serve them well in life. It allows them to look past the immediate and examine ways to address issues in meaningful and lasting ways as they grow up. It expands their thinking in ways that take them above and beyond ruffled feathers and even severe wounds.


Ending the Rambling, Moving Forward

So, what does all this have to do with a HubPages anniversary and the New Year? Well, as I begin to peel back the layers of the principles involved, I come at the process from the perspective of wanting to continue to refine my writing.

Expressing Emotion Clearly

Previous anniversary hubs have touched on polishing my work and how much I have to catch up on, but it feels good to begin the year with a more defined idea of approaching writing on the basis of working to let facts outperform feelings.

Related concepts, such as discovering whether purported facts are, in fact, facts come to mind. New year goals definitely need to include applying the gist of the associated ideas to my writing, which still includes going back to improve past hubs I've not yet worked on.

For now, I hope this post will give others a chance to have interesting discussions about the kindred issues and implications of disallowing offenses. If you are so inclined, mature and responsible discussion in the comments section below is most welcome. Many thanks to all who have read to this conclusion and examined this theme with me!


Welcome to the Discussion!

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    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 20 months ago from the short journey

      Peggy W:

      Thanks so much for your response. It was interesting to think through the concepts for this hub. Thinking before speaking is crucial to speaking safely!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Happy hub anniversary and I enjoyed this topic immensely. It would seem in this political climate that some of the candidates speak before thinking things through. I know some people who do the same. I particularly liked that saying which starts with "Think child before you speak..." We should all do that! Happy to share.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 20 months ago from the short journey

      techygran:

      Sounds like your mother-in-law was a cutie!

      Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your response. Age can indeed give us a less offend-able frame of mind, especially if we have worked to live by facts instead of feelings. However, experiences like you mention can catch us off guard and it can take real work to exercise what we've learned! So glad that the conclusion of that experience turned out as well as it did.

      Sometimes, these difficult experiences do give us insight into a person's character, telling us that we must be careful. Forgiving does not have to equal trust. A really helpful book on that topic comes from Chris Brauns, Unpacking Forgiveness. The appendixes have crucial comments that should not be missed. The scope and scale of offenses varies and it is important to understand what responses are appropriate in the different categories.

      So appreciate your visit and discussion here!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 20 months ago from the short journey

      peachpurple:

      Thank you for stopping by!

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 20 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Happy HP Anniversary, or maybe Anniversity as my German-speaking mother-in-law used to say! This is indeed a thought-provoking piece. I do believe that I am generally less offend-able as I age, although I had a great awakening when a friend "accused" me of something that I felt certain I had not said or done. I was able, eventually, to step back and examine my own feeling, response, and reaction process. I also recognized that I have indeed grown some emotionally and did not have to pull my "supporters" in for sessions of self-serving indignation and vitriol. The person who 'offended' me later apologized and we were able to have some semblance of peace. I have to say, though, that something was lost in what seemed like an injustice, and I am still struggling to forgive and be clear of a faint, niggling distrust and hurt feeling.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      happy new year and glad to be here for the past 6 years too just like you

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 21 months ago from the short journey

      ChitrangadaSharan:

      Thank you--it's never too late for good wishes! :)

      And thanks much for your response to this hub.

      Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 21 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Happy HP Anniversary and a Very Happy New Year to you! I am sorry I am a little late in wishing you but I believe it is never too late to send good wishes.

      You have made some excellent, practical and valuable points in this hub. The bottom line is--We must respect each other and care for each others emotions.

      Thank you for sharing this insightful hub!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      aesta1:

      Yes, our fallen human nature definitely wants to take over in such cases. Coming to the place of responding wisely is so important for ourselves and others. Thanks much for sharing your insight here!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      When someone offends me my first reaction is to retaliate. However, my upbringing is to feel the hurt but tell myself I am stronger and can take this. I try to bless the person. It is my own reaction I am responsible for.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      DDE:

      Thank you for coming by to read this hub with a title that hides its contents and for adding your kind comment.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 22 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A brilliant hub. Understanding each other is way to know what the other needs.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      MsDora:

      That's a great point, thanks for adding it! In the statement I was primarily coming from the perspective of the big picture, such as how a person's background affects them in ways even they don't realize, but it is very important to try to be understanding toward them.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      "Not only do we not know all the facts of why someone offended us, we probably never will." If we spend time understanding each other, we'll have less time to feel offended.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      easylearningweb:

      Happy New Year to you, too, and thanks much for stopping by!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      Genna East:

      Thank you for your greetings and comment on this hub's theme. It's a wonderful thing that C. S. Lewis' insights continue to be thought-provoking and useful. Happy New Year to your and yours!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      RAlba:

      Thank you for your visit and comments. The principles behind respecting others and not making too much of our own feelings when offended are important concepts to understand. Happy New Year to you and yours as well!

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 22 months ago

      Happy New Year, RTalloni. Nice quotes and makes us think about the new year, let's make it a wonderful year and beyond!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      purl3agony:

      Thanks very much for your very kind comment. Happy New Year to you and your family and friends!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Happy Hub Anniversary...and Happy New Year. This is such a thoughtful, well-written hub. It is challenging in trying not to offend, unintentionally, but sometimes (hopefully, rarely), we do. I loooved that quote from C.S. Lewis. So very true.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      Carb Diva:

      Thanks much! So appreciate your New Year's comment. Happy 2016 to you and yours!

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 22 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi RTalooni. Frist, let me say I hope you had a real nice New Year and hope the coming year proves blessed for you and your family.

      Being offended seems to be a tragic, just like you said, anymore. I grew up with people offending me all the time. Being over weight as a child, can bring on a lot of offending remarks by other children. Even when I grew up, there have been offending remarks, and I'm sure I have offended someone too, not meaning too of course. I think, the word "offended" has become to important. I think we should respect others feelings but not make too much of our offenses. I hope that makes sense. Thanks for all the work you did on this hub.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      Jodah:

      Hubbiversary…that's cute. :) Thanks much for your feedback on this post. One never knows how a view like this will be received so I appreciate that you stopped by and commented. Happy New Year to you and your family!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 22 months ago from Washington State, USA

      What a wonderful hub. I like to think of the New Year as a clean slate--a chance to start anew. I like that you used so many quotes from C.S. Lewis. One of the best. Have a wonderful New Year.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 22 months ago from USA

      Lovely and brilliantly written. Thanks for reminding us to respect one another but ultimately focus on moving forward. Very timely advice.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Happy New Year and Hubbiversary. Some great points here. We can try our hardest not to offend anyone, but it is impossible, especially online where whatever you write can be taken the wrong way because body language and intonation cannot be judged. Good hub.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 22 months ago from the short journey

      MarleneB:

      Thanks much for letting me know you found this interesting. The bridge statement came from watching a situation play out and I've been thinking about how naiveté has built bridges to enemies throughout history. So appreciate your stopping in this eve…Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 22 months ago from Northern California, USA

      This hub is definitely thought provoking. I just told someone who is going through a breakup with a narcissistic ex-partner to never let him see your hurt. He'll just "play" on that. I like the statement you made, "If you build a bridge to an enemy, he will cross over it." That's more true than anything I have ever heard.