The Gift of Offence
The Gift of Offence
Have you been offended by people in your life?
Why do I say it’s GOOD when it made you feel so BAD?
I live in a small community and I notice many behavior patterns around me. I live in a country with a lot of human rights violation as part of it’s complex history. What is becoming very clear to me, is the culture of people tiptoeing around each other, topics and personalities. Sometimes, this culture even borders ‘over sensitivity”. People are often so worried that they might say something that would:
- “get them in trouble”
- or that would “hurt someone”
- or that is “politically incorrect”
Or God forbid, I treat you the same like I would anyone else, but because you are white, black or LGBTQ, I start tiptoeing around you. And I see this playing out in corporate and in schools.
It’s a mentality we feed: “I choose to hide behind the label, instead of figuring out what is triggering me”. If you can heal the wound, you can be more resilient in life! Avoidance behavior is often hidden behind: “what you said have really hurt me and I won’t get over it” and we turn it into a cause of racism or discriminatory injustice, instead of facing our own wound that needs healing. It doesn’t mean you didn’t get hurt, it doesn’t mean that what happened to you was right, It just means that you are not giving your power away to people who are triggering you in your future anymore! How we give that power away, is through our ‘victim hood”.Trust me, its not a “hood” you want to stay over in and you definitely don’t want to make it your permanent residence!
Again, I understand, we have many many terrible examples of abuse of authority and the trampling of human rights. BUT, with that, should come a balanced approach, as it could very easily be used as a tool to manipulate people and not take accountability. If you want to stop being a victim of the past, you need to stop being a victim in the present. Didn’t the world have absolute respect for Mr. Mandela – our dear Madiba who had all the reason in the world to be angry, bitter end vindictive, yet, he was willing to put his own personal offence (and sacrifice) aside, to serve the greater good. Isn’t that what showing true character is all about? I do agree with human kindness and mutual respect for each other – off course! I hate what was done during apartheid and I hate the scale at which it was done. Don’t get me wrong. But I also know that we are here on this earth, each carrying divine contracts to help each other evolve and grow. How will that happen without any form of conflict/offence?
I can tell you, that the people who have done me the biggest favours in my life, have been the people who have offended me
Whether they have done it knowingly or unknowingly, they have been some of my best teachers! This gave me the courage the higher wisdom and understanding. Part of that reason includes my role in other people’s growth. I too have a role to play in their personal increase of awareness. I am here to observe my corner of life, and to interact with my fellow humans. All this, so that we can collectively grow to a higher consciousness.
What does that mumbo jumbo mean in practice you say?
I like telling stories or using examples from my own life, probably at risk of exposing myself and my family, but I know that this is how I’ve learn’t – is from observing my own life.
THE STORY OF THE VENDOR
Today my husband and I took the kids to the beach. It was a glorious day, and the water surface was flat, like a dam. We rented the gear from a vendor on the beach and paid him in cash. I took my professional camera gear with me to take photos of my family on the water. As I was clicking away, the vendor approach me with a very kind but firm request: “Please can you take photos of the groups going out, I’d really love photos for our Facebook page.’ At first I smile and shake my head (like a good compliant little girl should), and then I feel a slight trigger in my inside. I quickly push it aside (because I am after all here to have fun with my family) and I get cracking with my captures.
An hour or so later again, the vendor walks up to me and starts giving me instructions of what he’d like to have photos from for his Facebook page! Ok, so now I am properly triggered! Not only did he not pay me for my time to capture professional quality images, he most certainly are blissfully aware of the insane amount of time that it takes for a photographer to edit photos or what it cost to have the kind of gear kit that I have.
Again, I push my offense aside, and I continue to focus on getting my kids sorted for lunch.
Our time starts to run out on the rental of the equipment and the sun on our skin tells us, it’s time to go home.
As we give the equipment back, the vendor again prompts my husband (who’s mobile number he’s got) for the photos that I HAVE TAKEN!
A bit irritated, I tell my husband about the guy’s requests, my husband (who is quite practical and matter of fact in his approach in life) suggests that all I do then is to say to the vendor that I will exchange my images for some free time on his equipment.
You know what is the worse part? I immediately flinched at his suggestion and thought to myself: “I can’t do that, that’s rude!”. (I know right??!!!)
On our way home I thought the situation through. Why is it ok for me to accept his disrespect and his lack of awareness of my skill and gear, but when my husband suggests that I turn the tables on him, do I feel that that is disrespectful towards the vendor?
And it clicked!!!!!! It’s because I have more respect for other people and what they think of me, than what I have respect for myself, my time and my investments made! A recipe for opening yourself to abuse by other opportunistic individuals who have identified that character trade in you! (And boy, do I have a history of examples of this I can pick from!)
Furthermore, I realized that in front of me lied a great opportunity to “teach” this person about his her own personal awareness. By suggesting that we make an exchange for my images for time on his equipment, it will make him think twice about the value of the images he so gallantly requested. If I suggest 50 images for 3 hours on his equipment, he might think twice about dishing out instructions to someone who just “walks on the beach and clicks a couple of times to get pretty pictures”. Because most photographers will tell you that is their pet peeve! People who don’t understand the value (and work) it takes to capture those “beautiful little snapshots” of the day! This will make him think about if he really wants my images, because his intent is fully to publish it on his social media pages for HIS gain, not mine!
No where did I sign up as part of his staff compliment – so why should I feel bad about telling him that I’m most certainly willing to provide him with images, provided that there is a fair and equal exchange! This will provide him with a great opportunity to expand his awareness, and who knows, perhaps next time he will not pollute his paid client’s experience of his services, by making selfish requests?
All of this might sound like over thinking, it may sound like making a big deal out of something small. But therein lies your and my key!!!! If you agree with this, then “don’t make a big deal out of things’ is a probably the sentence your parent used to pacify your expressed need when you you were a child. You started questioning your right to have requests (your own measure/yardstick on how you see life/circumstances) and your partner will most likely use this exact same ploy to manipulate you into doing what he/she want’s you to do. Then comes Mr. Vendor and triggers you to show you, that YOU H AVE STUFF TO WORK ON! You have to heal in how you exchange energy (how much and how easy you give of yourself to others). Mr. Vendor is now all of a sudden not just a vendor, he is a TEACHER AND HEALER in your life.
And what tool did he use (consciously or subconsciously?) OFFENCE! Which means, he did his job – he fulfilled his contract (however small) with me here on planet earth! And if he contacts me again to get copies of the photos, I will kindly return the favour – you know just to make sure there is balance! He may or may not see it as offence, but he will feel the little tingling in his insides and that will make him think about his suggestion – which would help him gain more awareness. And maybe not through me only, if he doesn’t get the message – another me will show up! Till he gets it!
WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM THIS?
I guess my main message is this – have people “hurt” or offended you, and you were to scared to speak out because:
- you didn’t know if what you were thinking/feeling was “right”
- you didn’t want to cause a scene
- you didn’t want to hurt him/her
- you didn’t want someone to “feel bad”
If you’ve been using any of above (or other such) excuses to stop yourself from speaking out where you see things that are fundamentally wrong or fundamentally wrong against you or someone in your family, you are busy with a process of self betrayal and betrayal of people you contracted with, to help them grow on earth.
Reality is: YOU ARE GOING TO HURT PEOPLE AND YOU ARE GOING TO GET HURT.
You can’t avoid it, it’s part of life.
Make sure that you use your gift of offence responsibly and appropriately to help those around you, AND YOURSELF grow and heal!
And the beautiful thing is this: the more you heal, the more naturally cautious and kind you will be in how you cause your offence for that person’s greater good!
Not saying what you feel, not sharing your experience/viewpoint/feedback, robs people around you from growth. It robs you from growth. Even if your feedback ends up causing conflict, you can learn from it!You will master the tool of offence – many of the great teachers in history used this tool very effectively!
Some of the people in my life, who have offended me the most, has helped me to grow the most! Today I am grateful to them for that!
Love and Moonlight,