We’ve all heard the saying, “Hurt people hurt people.” Being offended is an expression of pain that has yet to be dealt with. Nowadays, everywhere you look someone is screaming about something that has offended them.
Awhile back, I posted to some IBD support groups about my lifelong battle with Crohn’s disease. It was a post of encouragement. Meant to demonstrate that you can still live a happy life even when you have a severe chronic illness. I felt the message might resonate with others outside of the IBD community so I turned it into a blog you can read HERE.
The post was well received in the groups. The response was overwhelmingly positive. So many people are looking for hope, a little light in the darkness. However, I have received a few responses that were not so positive. They had to do with my use of the word “terrible” to describe my experience with the prescription drugs I was on for a decade straight during my developmental years.
The complaints went something like this, “You can’t use the word ‘terrible’ to describe drugs that people need.” Or “I had no choice but to put my child on these drugs and it makes me feel worse to hear someone describe them as ‘terrible’.”
While I understand the feelings of guilt and regret many of us, especially parents of little ones, feel when dealing with these drugs, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make you feel better about the choices you’ve made. The choice that most of us make, me included (although I was also a young child whose mother made the decision for me). My experience was terrible. Beyond terrible. Why do some people think it’s ok to try to dictate someone else’s words, thoughts, or actions to make themselves feel better? How selfish and immature.
I expect this type of behavior from children. They don’t know how to deal with their feelings and think everything in the world is about them. However, many of these so called “social justice warriors” I see today are really just terrified children who came into adulthood ill prepared. They still haven’t learned to deal with their feelings and think the world needs to bend to their will. To cater to their feelings.
This kind of, “YOU can’t say that because I don’t like how it makes ME feel,” culture is getting out of control. No one makes you feel anything. You feel what you feel based on YOUR thoughts. Based on the meaning YOU assigned to that thing. Your thoughts are your business. If you don’t like how they are making you feel, it’s on you to change your thinking.
I told these commenters that I respect and understand their feelings but I will describe my experience using whatever vocabulary I feel is appropriate. You can’t find ways to describe awful situations that will please everyone. I’m not going to waste my time trying to find or invent words that aren’t going to cause people to feel their own feelings. If you feel triggered by something, it’s your responsibility to deal with those feelings. Not by trying to silence other people but by finding the root cause of the pain and dealing with the trauma. And the root cause isn’t someone’s use of a word or phrase. It’s the significance you assigned to that word or phrase.
During the course of my interactions with these commenters, several of them broke down and admitted … their experience with these drugs has also been TERRIBLE. They too struggled to find other words to adequately describe what it’s like taking drugs like prednisone for long periods of time.
May was Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month. So many people with IBD are desperate to be understood. They want other people to know what they go through and to care about their suffering. However, so many with IBD constantly lash out at other people who comment or ask them questions about their disease or treatment. What kind of message does that send to those genuinely interested in educating themselves? If I asked someone a question and their response was along the lines of, “I want you to know about my disease and the suffering it causes me but don’t say anything about it and for damn sure don’t ask me any questions,” I would find it very difficult to care about that disease and that person’s suffering. Awareness should create dialogue, not shut it down.
You’re feelings are valid and you’re a human being deserving of compassion. Your feelings are valid but they aren’t anyone else’s responsibility. Only you can change how you feel … by changing the way you think.
Do we really want to live in a world where we can’t even describe our own personal experiences or ask questions because someone else doesn’t like how it makes them feel? There will always be people looking for a reason to be offended. Let them.
If you would like to change the way you feel by working on your thoughts, schedule your complimentary consultation today and let’s talk about how life coaching can change your life!