Have you ever offended someone without really meaning too? Have you ever offended someone without even knowing at all? Have you ever been offended?
While I do believe that to take offense is a choice (I go into that a bit more in another post here: https://2livelovelearn.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/excuses/) I have also had experiences when I have been deeply offended and know that sometimes it seems the natural choice.
I was thinking about this because I recently offended someone (again!). While I try very hard not to offend people and be tactful I find that my personality, especially since I’m living in a language and culture different than my native roots, I tend to cause myself some issues at times.
I won’t bore you with details but suffice it to say that in trying to help I made a fellow mommy feel like I knew better than she did in regards to caring for her infant. On one hand I felt exasperated that in not letting me help she was also affecting the life of her child. However on the other hand, I can remember times as a new mommy and sometimes even now when a suggestion or offer of help with my children has caused me to “raise my hackles” so to speak.
The experience also made me reflect on different times when I have been offended or have offended someone. What was the pattern? Is there something I am doing wrong? What can I learn?
My conclusion was that the majority of instances when offense has been taken, it was simply a misunderstanding. Such as the time I offended a dear friend in that I was not talking to her much and then I explained that I had morning sickness and was just concentrating on keeping my cookies down! Sometimes better communication could help me in those instances (see post:https://2livelovelearn.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/communication/ ). Many times we just have to apologize and let that person take it as they will.
Then there are other times that I feel compelled to say something or share my beliefs even when I know I may offend. In these times I try to be tactful and not attack anyone. But sometimes I think some things need to be said.
Also, every time that I’ve run into an “offense” either given or taken, I’ve learned something new. I’ve learned something different with each situation but also I believe each time I learn a deeper sense of compassion. Each time, upon reflection, I have the opportunity to put myself in someone else’s shoes and walk a mile. In that I am very grateful for every offense because I believe compassion is a gift.
So here I go, another lesson learned, maybe a little wiser….will I offend again? Probably. Will I do it less often? I hope so. Am I going to walk on eggshells? Nope. I will hope and pray though that with every offense someone comes out of it a better person, even better if it’s me!
So, what’s your take on offending? Do you think it’s unavoidable? Should be try to avoid it?