So I was a bit upset these past few days because I had made a joke to another individual and they became so upset with me that they felt they needed time apart from our friendship to let this all pass. Immediately I thought to myself, wow “insert judgement”. I thought man this person is extremely sensitive, can’t take a joke, potentially has some areas they can mature in if something someone else says (that I felt was small) has become a bigger deal than I felt it needed to be.
We discussed it, I apologized and yet still we could not see eye to eye. Here are a few things I learned from this experience.
1. I should be more mindful of the things that come out of my mouth and the things I say to others. Yes, it might not be a big deal for me, but it affects them and I need to respect that. We all have different backgrounds and upbringings that affect us all very differently and something to one person can be a really big deal to another.
2. I was offended that he was offended by what I said. Although we don’t see eye to eye, being offended or having a difficult time forgiving/letting go, etc is not worth our energy. Offense is something that becomes draining and debilitating if we let if fester. So for me that meant letting go of the fact that the person was not seeing eye to eye with me, and giving myself the freedom and grace to have made a mistake with my wording but also not allowing it to affect me to the same extent the reverse effected this individual (see 2b).
2b. We come across so many people throughout our lives who will say things intentionally and unintentionally that can potentially affect us in a negative manner. If we allow everything everyone says to us become what we begin to define ourselves as or if we take things personally each and every time, we are setting ourselves up for a very unhappy life. Remember that what others say do not define you and should not define you.
3. Most importantly for me, I learned that I should not lower my standard, expectation, or not voice my opinion in fear of offending others. (As long as it is done in a respectful manner; Although the joke I said had some truth, I could have gone about it differently. I didn’t need to joke to get my point across and some things are better left unsaid. As my mom says, if you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.)
To provide a more in depth back story to my lessons learned on offense I’ll provide a bit more information to the story.
I have a male friend I was hanging out with and at one point he made me feel as though his intention was to have sex. He only seemed to reach out to hang out late at night and his suggestions of hanging out consisted of asking me to come over. I’m the kind of person that likes to nip things in the bud before they become an issue so I let him know that that is not what I want from our friendship and I rather plan activities and hangouts that don’t center around late at night in a bedroom watching movies.
At this point in the conversation I began to see that we didn’t see eye to eye. This is why I point back to my 3rd lesson learned because I felt like he was invalidating my feelings. He provided what I felt were excuses to why his suggestions were always late at night etc and ultimately made me feel like I was in the wrong for ever feeling that way. Then he became mad at me for expressing myself and “calling him out.” This point of the story is when I joked and said ” I’m sure you have other female friends that can take care of your needs but that’s not going to be me.”
Now maybe some of you after reading this paragraph, think to yourself “Oh she probably had every right to say what she said. He shouldn’t be offended, screw him. Although a part of me agrees with that sentiment, as days went on I could feel in my gut that I was just upset about this whole thing. Just annoyed because it made no sense to me how I should be the one more upset over all of it but he seemed to be making it all about him. I think what upset me the most was that he told me he was disappointed in ME for saying that hurtful joke to him when HIS actions influenced that joke and there was truth to that joke. That’s like a person who works in a company that throws rocks at people all day (let’s be extreme here) being disappointed/upset when they get pelted in the face with a rock. It’s a bit hypocritical.
But here is the moral of my story. At least two very important things I learned
Don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you feel needs to be said (and don’t feel bad about it) but also don’t hurt anyone in the process of doing it. Yes, how he made me feel was pretty shitty but I don’t need to stoop to his level by saying something hurtful to him to get my point across. (Although I still don’t feel that what I said was a big deal, it was still a big deal to him and hurtful and I need to respect that)
Last but not least, don’t let someone offending you fester and give yourself room to forgive yourself if you do offend someone else. We sure as hell aren’t perfect and it most certainly isn’t worth letting it all get in the way of our joy and happiness. Learn to let go of those things because all they do is drain you of joy.