Being offended doesn’t accomplish much. The arguments between those experiencing insensitivity versus the hypersensitivity of others on any given issue have become mundane, and it stagnates the evolution of ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.
Being a provocateur isn’t exactly a noble pursuit. Intentionally trying to cause pain or pick at the wounds of others is not one of the finer traits of our species. Truthfully, getting your sensibilities rattled a bit is probably good for you. It challenges your way of thinking — provided you’re not lazy.
The knee-jerk reaction of far too many is to feel indignant over the words of their adversary. Many rely on tortured logic to search for something to be offended by. It’s unfortunate. Think how much you could gain if instead of immediately flying into a manufactured rage, you responded with curiosity.
You could ask questions like, “What makes you think that,” or, “how did you arrive at that conclusion?” That approach is far more powerful.
What if you suspended your outrage and replaced it with a thirst for knowledge? Are you humble enough to say, “You haven’t convinced me yet, tell me more.”
Imagine putting yourself in their shoes in a genuine attempt to learn their motivation for spouting off the very thing you detest. What could you learn if you were quiet long enough to listen? How could you grow as a leader if, even if only as a thought exercise, you opened yourself up to the possibility that maybe you’re wrong, and they’re right?
It doesn’t mean they are right. It doesn’t mean that you have to betray your values in the interest of getting along. When you fight for the things, you believe in and against the things you don’t, equip yourself properly. Being offended is a simple, easy, and hollow tool. Set it down and learn better skills.
Also published on Medium.