Offensiveness has a bit of bad rep and if you were to ask anyone about what they thought of offensiveness and offensive people, they’d probably give you some kind of negative description. But what if I told you that being offensive is a good thing? Would you believe me?
Well, let me show you how offensiveness can actually be a good thing. The thing is, in sharing this with you, I might actually offend you. So, if you’re good with that, then let’s crack on!
Many people are tempted to think that people who are offensive are actually stressed, angry or upset and that for some reason, they totally forget about being polite and it all comes wrong – in other words: offensive. But maybe it’s not them at all. Maybe, it’s the offendees who are the problem! Ha! I bet you didn’t see that coming!
Yes! Maybe it’s those that are offended who are the ungrateful, selfish manipulators. You still with me? Well, let me explain myself before I offend you too much.
We all know these people: sensitive types who get upset really easily. So much that they’re constantly telling us about the latest thing that’s winding them up. A while ago here in the UK, we had a lady called Mary Whitehouse who was quick to be offended by a bit of nudity or the odd swear word. These sensitive types can be so vocal that it can easy to think that how they feel is how most of us feel.
If we take a closer look, it’s pretty interesting. These sensitive types usually make a pretty big deal of the offensive things in their life. So much so that people begin to pussyfoot around them. The more we have to pussyfoot around others, the more stressful it becomes. Before you know it we stress ourselves out as we tread on eggshells trying not to offend these sensitive types. The bottom line is this: where does offence start and stop for these offended people?
Shouldn’t the onus be on the people who are offended to sort their head trash out and not be triggered like this? Instead, they try to control and manipulate all their friends and family into behaving like they believe we should behave. Well, who says that they’ve got it right?
I realise there’s a whole spectrum of offensive behaviour and much of it is tied to cultural values. But I’m referring to things that are beyond our cultural values; swearing is a great example because so many people are offended by it. Why is it that so many people are offended by swearing while at the same time we have loads of people who love it and do it. There is even mounting evidence to suggest that prolific swearers are more intelligent, more creative and less stressed. If you’re curious about this then check out the book Swearing is Good For You.
So how about we flip this?
Let’s selfishly use these offensive people for our own good!
As far as I’m concerned, offensive people can help us on our healing journey. When someone or something offends us, it’s an opportunity for us to take a closer look at what’s happening inside of us to trigger our offended response. After all, being offended is a subjective thing – what may offend Dave may not necessarily offend Selma. When we look inward as to why we feel offended, it’s probably down to our own unique values, morals or beliefs. But surely, if we were to ask that person to never express themselves in that way again, just because we were too lazy to address our own personal issues, then that would make us just a tiny bit manipulative and controlling, wouldn’t it? And isn’t that offensive to some?
In my head trash workshops, I often get into swearing mode just to watch the reaction of my delegates. They’ve come to clear their head trash, so I’m merely bringing it to the surface for them. I’ve often seen people wince and when I go round the room, it’s clear that my swearing has really offended people. This is great because now they have something to work with. I could dabble in any other kind of offensive behaviour, but swearing is an easy one that doesn’t get you into too much trouble.
When someone swears and offends someone, has the swearer created hurt in the offendee? No; it was there already. They’ve merely triggered it. So how about we take responsibility for the things that offend us? Instead of going through all being offended palaver, what if we said “Oh dear! I’ve obviously got some stuff going on here that I need to deal with, I’d better take responsibility and get someone to help me with it.” What if we went a step further went on to say “In fact, I think I’ll thank this offensive person for highlighting this to me”. I realise that might be a step too far for some. But it’s a useful aspect to consider.
When we heal our internal conflicts, they can no longer stress our body and destroy our health, which they can do over the long term. Some people, instead of taking responsibility, make other people feel bad for doing the thing that has offended. Yet, I’m sure, if you were to ask them “do you think making other people feel bad is a bad thing?” they’d probably say yes. Imagine if we all manipulated and controlled by pretending to be a real victim, just because a personal moral or belief or set of values was crossed.
We need offensive people in our lives to highlight areas where we need to change. The more we get offended in our day-to-day lives, the more likely it is to be a personal issue and head trash that needs to be cleared. Of course there are going to be cultural and societal values such as those around race and sexuality that some may argue don’t count. But the thing is, by sticking ruthlessly by your strong values despite the ongoing barrage of offensiveness coming your way, wouldn’t it be easier and less stressful to not get offended in the first place. These people are always going to be around you, you’re not going to be able to change 7 billion people very easily – much easier to change yourself and lead a less stressed existence. In fact, when you are less offended you’ll be less emotional about this offensive issue and this will make it much easier for you to engage with these offenders to share your point of view and possibly bring them around.
As a final note: If you don’t like this message then perhaps consider you have some head trash to clear. What is it that has offended you? You might want to add this to your head trash clearance to-do list.