Offences are as common as a puddle of water when it is raining - and just as difficult to avoid.
Offensive words seem to fly unerringly to our emotional centre like an arrow striking the bull’s eye of a target. Unkind words have the same effect; they too seem to hit the core of our emotional vulnerabilities.
We feel the fiery dart of pain, hurt, embarrassment, and disrespect. Negative emotions rule over our logical thoughts and start us on a path of doubt. Self-doubt raises questions about our relationship and standing with the other person or persons involved. It can often seem like a personal attack even though, from their perspective, it may have been intended as “constructive criticism.”
Lady Astor said to Winston Churchill: “Mr. Churchill you are drunk.”
Churchill replied: “I may be drunk, My Lady, but in the morning, I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”
Another exchange between them reportedly went like this: “If you were my husband I'd give you poison.” He replied, “If you were my wife, I'd drink it.”
There is a grace given to allow other people their own stupidity that comes from the realization that individual change comes from within.
We can either be bitter or we can become better by the response we choose to give.
Offences have the tendency to tear down relationships, distort facts and cut deep into our emotional fabric. Family offences are often the most difficult because of the intimate emotional investment that is involved. It hurts deeply when compatibility, understanding and intimacy are lost, threatened or impaired.
“When differences come between family members it takes a hero to step up. Someone needs to be the hero.” -Dr. Phil McGraw
McGraw also holds the belief that we need to pick our battles and we should only pick the ones we can win.
When it comes to words of offence the old adage applies and we need to treat them like water off a duck’s back. In so doing, they will do us no harm.
Let hurtful words simply roll off and free us from the snare of offence.
JANUARY 2010 SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER AND LOWER MAINLAND