Sometimes, in our daily lives, as we engage in routine activities, someone says something we find offensive.
These remarks trigger a visceral response within us. Even before our minds kick into gear we feel something deep inside ourselves. Our mind follows and then, in a matter of seconds, our inner dialogue begins. Depending on what that dialogue is, we come to a crossroads. What do we do with these feelings? Do we say or do something? If so, how? When? In this environment where being offensive has become acceptable, what can we think about when placed in awkward situations when someone says something insulting? We may be so caught off guard that we leave without saying anything, and then sit in the car mulling over what we should have said.
Some suggestions that help us figure out what to do include:
Consider our Reaction: Were we surprised? Angered? Disappointed? Not so much because we “know” the person? What are our physical sensations? We can ask ourselves, “What is the point of saying something? Is this action for me or for the other?
Think About the Speaker’s Intention: Did they know what they said was offensive? Are they possibly unaware of the reactions others may have to what they think is a benign or acceptable comment?
Sometimes we respond because it is important to share who we are, what our values are, and what we will and will not tolerate.