A good friend (and excellent blogger) of mine recently recommended that I try to share more impressions about our travels on our blog. I agree that he’s right…I don’t share my personal opinion very often on my blog…and I approach that challenge with some trepidation. Why?  Isn’t that the purpose of a blog, to share what you stand for, and why?

I step forward into this challenge with fear, because I think people are too easily offended when you share something you believe in. I sadly know people that jump to conclusions whenever I post anything that supports a different lifestyle than they’re living. They immediately assume that because I support a different lifestyle than theirs, that I am personally attacking them. PERSONALLY!

That’s hogwash! I’ll tell you what. If I’m going to personally attack you, I’ll print your name. Why bother being discreet or tactful? I’ve never been good at either one of those.

Why take offense at something that is not intended to be an insult? Why bother to be offended when someone else has a different opinion than you?

There is a fantastic quote by Brigham Young that I have always loved. He said:

“He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”

In a season of political uproar (gotta love election time), political posts are going up left and right, both in the blogging world and on Facebook. I am friends with a lot of alternative-thinkers, and therefore I see a lot of interesting posts criticizing conservative ideals that I believe strongly in. Do I jump into those conversations and claim offense? No! That’s ridiculous! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I do not personally have to lay claim on what they’ve said as being a personal, direct insult to me. Why waste your life being offended?

I think when you live a life of a minority, you get used to criticism. And in this case, I’m not talking about those of a racial minority—I’m talking about those living an alternative lifestyle or subscribing to a way of thinking that is limited to a small minority of people within our culture. It annoys me that because I am in the minority, some who are in the majority feel I shouldn’t share my opinion (even though they’re welcome to express theirs freely).

When people live the life of the majority, they don’t often get criticized. However, when you’ve chosen to live against that norm, criticisms abound, and you find yourself constantly defending why you’ve made the choices you have (whether that is verbally, or in your head). Yes, to choose to live outside of the box means that you’ve evaluated the alternative and you’ve decided that you don’t want to live inside of that pre-determined box.

But should my choice offend you? Are the people living the lifestyle of the majority really unable to take the criticism that the minority endure each day?

You could label me with all sorts of things that are considered a controversial, taboo subject in many circles:

Homeschooler, Vegetarian, Vegan, Mormon, Digital Nomad, Minimalist, Home-birther, Naturalist

Just a few of the many.

Am I not allowed to make any post supporting my decisions, or the decisions of others whom I agree with? Is supporting one thing really insulting the other?

When my friends post about how much they’re enjoying settling into a newly-purchased home and decorating, do I personally take offense and assume that they are attacking my choice to sell the majority of my belongings and set off to see the world with my family? No!

When I post anything about the reasons I choose to cook vegan, should you feel I am criticizing your way of cooking? No!

When I applaud a family that has chosen to worldschool their children as they travel the world suggest that I think people who settle down and put their children in public school are daft or evil? No!

I am only supporting a different choice.

If you can take offense at one of the examples above, you are equally suggesting that saying to one person “Congratulations, you graduated from college!” means that I am saying to another, “I can’t believe you didn’t complete college—you’re dumb!”

We all have choices, and there is value in every choice.

The beauty is that we each get to choose what is best for us.

I am committing to try to share more of what makes me tick here. Some of it you may agree with, and some of it you won’t.

If you’re one of those people that is offended by me saying what I believe in and support (because you think that I am personally attacking YOU and your choices), then I suggest you get over it!

Look around.

And realize there are many ways to live a life, and Living Outside of the Box is just one of 6 billion.

32 Responses to “Do I offend you?”

  1. I totally understand holding back on controversial issues when close friends and family read your blog. I also need to figure that out but I’m not there yet. I will say that you and some other bloggers I follow have really opened by eyes to another side of conservatives. I come from a liberal background and the conservatives I have encountered would never be in the same room as the words Homeschooler, Vegetarian, Vegan, Digital Nomad, Minimalist, Home-birther, Naturalists.Where I live in Colorado people that do those things are not conservatives. So maybe you are in the minority for conservatives (or maybe not, maybe I am just around the others) but thank you for opening my eyes!

    • Hahaa! That’s funny! Yes, I think some conservatives tend to shy away from those things. I certainly have conservative views, but I’ve never thought of it as being an excuse to not be open-minded. Funny…I guess that’s the kind of family I was raised in…open-minded conservatives! I’ve actually run into quite a few new friends lately who used to be “conservatives”, but it seems to me that they felt it discouraged them from being travelers, and developing new perspectives on people and life. I thought that was a pretty funny idea…that having conservative core values meant that you couldn’t appreciate other cultures or consider or value other ways of living. It’s a new concept to me!

  2. There was a lecture at my Bible school that was entitled, “Refuse to be Offended”. I hardly remember the content, but the title has stuck with me. :>
    Great post! I personally find blogs more interesting when the author shares more of who they personally are. Anyone can write about a location or a “this is what we did today” but I love reading about WHO people really are and how they perceive the world and why… it’s what makes their experience unique. To me, that makes it all the more intriguing. :> So go for it!
    One of my good friends challenged me a while back to share more of my struggles on my blog, and not just the pretty, happy side of life. I’ve wanted to be careful to keep my space encouraging and not whiny, so that was a challenge. But I’ve found when I have shared the harder things it’s been a real blessing, not only to me, but I’ve found that it’s helped others as well.
    Keep writing!

  3. Well said!

  4. Fantastic post, righteous and eloquent. Love the Brigham Young quote!

  5. Makes sense to me. I don’t see how anyone can be offended by what someone else does unless what they are doing is offensive. Although I have a friend who is a farmer and is offended by vegans. I don’t get it. Maybe offended is the wrong word. Angry maybe? Maybe he just doesn’t like people advocating against how he makes a living.

    But you know what, it’s not such a bad thing. Any person who goes public will be ridiculed by someone. If someone dances on TV, they are too fat, thin, pretty or ugly. People are bored! Just do what you do and those who latch on to what you are saying will benefit. And that is a good thing.

    • I agree, Justin. I think we should just be who we are, and not be afraid of that. Sadly, there will always be those kinds of people who read things wrong and become offended–but we can’t control them–so why worry? There are always critics–no matter what you do or who you are! That’s funny about the farmer…yeah…my husband comes from a farming community in Central Washington, and saying “organic” is somewhere you just don’t want to go in the presence of those peeps 🙂

  6. mindy stewart says:

    Good blog with good insight. There was a time, maybe 20 years ago and before, that you could talk about the things you cherish and believe in and possibly have a thoughtful discussion with someone about those beliefs. It seems too many people are looking for a fight these days. Too bad. I don’t care to eat vegan, but I respect your right to be vegan, and Mormon, and a homeschooler. Your children will grow up to be more well-adjusted because you travel and because you and Jared have a zest for life, and are open-minded.

    • Was there really a time when you could discuss things without fighting? Can you imagine! These days everyone is eager to have their own opinion heard, and they’re not afraid to tell you you’re wrong, even if their perspective is still just opinion-based. Fun fun fun! Thanks for respecting our wild ways 🙂

  7. Beth Schmidgall says:

    Perfect…..

  8. Linda O"Dell says:

    I have always admired you and the fact that you choose to experience life rather than to watch it go by. Oh that I knew how to do what you are doing. I read parts of the book that you suggested. I did enjoy it. Guess I need to really read and digest it.
    You are great! Your family is experiencing life! Go for it!! 🙂

  9. Well said! That is how I feel too!

  10. A Kings Life says:

    Bravo for the bravado!
    I look forward to some more opinionated posts!

  11. I am so offended! Just kidding. I love you and your alternative ways of thinking and living!

  12. I absolutely agree! Way too many people seem to take our decisions to do something in a certain way… as a direct affront on THEIR decisions NOT to. It baffles me.

    I guess the challenge – for all of us – is to not take offense when other people take offense.

    I would love to learn how to deflect the opinions of the offense-takers… without getting irritated and annoyed enough to take offense because THEY’VE taken offense.

    (Haven’t got there…. yet)

    • Thanks for agreeing with me! Yup, the sad thing is…even having written those post…there are still those people who will check in with my blog and find offense that I don’t want to live their lifestyle. I can’t help them. But why does it still slightly irk me? Yes–that’s the hard part–not taking offense that they’re offended when it’s ridiculous they’re offended in the first place! Haha!!

  13. I think there is a fine line between talking about something and criticizing others for their beliefs. There are ways to say it that sound judgmental and ways that don’t. It’s all about figuring out a way to say what you believe in a way that doesn’t make it sound like you’re putting them down. But yeah – there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to state our beliefs.

    • Yes, Nancy–you’re certainly right! However, I don’t think the line is all that fine, really. I mean–blatant criticizing is exactly that. I think generally people know when they’re out to offend people and when they’re not–they’ve crossed a pretty big line on purpose. I don’t set out with the intentions to totally criticize people. But what I get annoyed at is when I express something that is not attacking anyone in particular, and then I hear back from a friend or family member, “Oh, ______ was offended by your post on ______”. That’s when I say, “What?! That post was about COOKING! Why would they think I’m talking about them?! What was there to be offended about?” It’s when people apply everything you say as a criticism to themselves that drives me absolutely nuts. And yes, that’s a real example 🙂

  14. The way each of us lives our own lives implicitly passes judgement on others. It’s a tough thing. That’s why each of us needs to develop a thick skin and just decide we want to learn from others instead of assuming we have everything figured out. Believing you could be wrong brings a lot levity to life.

    • You’re right…choosing one way over another means we have chosen it over the other. We have done it, and those who criticize us have done it. It’s interesting that we could be “right” about our own lives, and they can be absolutely “right” about their choices in their lives, too. Just because it is a path we have chosen does not mean we are suggesting someone else should live that lifestyle, also. And life changes…as do we. What is right for us today could be wrong next year. When people asked how long we’d live our 1/2 year lifestyle in Alaska, we’d answer “as long as it makes sense.” It made sense for 8 years, but not a year longer. Now this makes sense for us…but perhaps not later. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t everything changes…I’m not talking about Faith in a higher being (I believe truth is truth, and therefore unchangeable), but I am talking about lifestyle choices and the way we choose to live our lives.

  15. I found this post by way of Clark, who mentioned it in his blog post. There are certain topics I don’t write about (politics and abortion specifically, and homosexuality) because of the “offense” that so many people will take to what I write. Even pointing out what I believe because I follow the Bible, is a matter that can offend people. Most of the time, I just say whatever I want anyway, but I do worry specifically about writing about the topics listed above. The outcry I got from writing about 50 Shades of Grey (http://littlebishopchronicles.blogspot.com/2012/06/50-shades-of-trash-for-adults-only.html) was astounding. Can’t I have a freakin’ opinion on anything without people trying to fight? I so relate to you when you write “I’ll tell you what. If I’m going to personally attack you, I’ll print your name. Why bother being discreet or tactful? I’ve never been good at either one of those.
    Why take offense at something that is not intended to be an insult? Why bother to be offended when someone has a different opinion than you?” Great post!
    http://lovingwhenithurts.blogspot.com

    • Hi there, Jamie! Your comment got lost in my spam box for a long time…I just found it! Thanks for sharing your experience (and BTW–I full-heartedly agree with your opinion on your post). It is absurd that we have to defend our opinion! If people don’t agree…let them move on and share their own opinion on their own blog. Why attack? It’s disrespecting the fact that we all have been given the ability to choose for ourselves. You for you, me for me. But why should I be ashamed to share why I chose the way I did? Why should it bother to offend someone else?

  16. I officially read a “blog” for the first time today-YOURS! This was a good read. My lifestyle has been one, and still remains to be one, that stirs up all kinds of issues within others and all I have to do is walk into a room. Whether that person understands what those issues are, they appear to be an offense to them. I try always to come from a place of understanding another’s place and care about them and their feelings. But when they become offended simply just because I have taken the liberty to choose a different way than they have (as a Christian, home educator, home birther, non-vax’r, homeopathy/home remedy embracer), I cannot allow my peace to be robbed by their personal issues I have nothing to do with that made what I have chosen appear to be an offense to them. It has taken years to come to this place. But I do my best to take others feelings into consideration, although I am not perfect. I will do my best to help another understand my heart and approach to things, IF they are desiring to openly listen. And I will listen to another share their heart. My approach is always in the hopes of honoring my Lord Jesus, whom is the greatest offense to others that don’t believe in Him as their Lord. He gives me guidelines. One guideline is: To react in the flesh(pride) is temporal, to respond in love is eternal. While I chose to abide in Him, He gives me the wisdom and strength to accomplish this. Another guideline is this: Proverbs 19:11 – “A person’s wisdom yields patience, it is to one’s own glory to overlook an offense.” So here is also my first blog comment- done as a rambling thought. Hope it made some sense. AND, I do hope it didn’t offend, because that is just who I am.

    • HI Kristen! Welcome to the world of blogs! I think you summed it up when you said “But when they become offended simply just because I have taken the liberty to choose a different way than they have, I cannot allow my peace to be robbed by their personal issues.” Let’s face it, this is HARD! It is hard to feel at peace when you know of particular people in your lives who are offended by everything you post, or everything you do…simply because you live a life that is different from them. I’m not talking about differences in faith or principles like that, but in simply how we choose to live our everyday lives (travel versus buying a home, eating healthy versus eating what just what makes us satisfied, etc). I feel as if my existence itself is an insult to them, and there is no way to “fix” that. So, why do they keep being offended, and telling other people they are offended, so the word gets back to me? It’s such a waste of life! I love your insight that we should “respond in love”, as I hope they would also do. He is the perfect example to honor. If we could all just love each other for our differences, then I wouldn’t have to make a post like this at all!

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