That’s not what I meant

Posted by on Sep 21, 2018 • 2 minute read

The way you feel when I unintentionally offend you, is never about me, it is about your unresolved hurts and the still open wounds that I happened to poke and reopen.

 

It's never about me

If you upset, anger, or hook (trigger) someone else and you did not mean to -  it’s not about you. It’s about them. If you can stay centred and not react to their response you will be assisting them to heal their emotional holes. But we can’t say that this is easy. It is not.

When last did you unintentionally offend someone? You said something, and it was taken up completely incorrectly. People do it all the time on social media. Someone makes an innocuous statement about someone or something and the next thing all hell breaks loose. The issue around how Serena Williams behaved at the US Open is a case in point. If you did not support Serena you were branded a racist, or a genderist. It became very positional. Woe betide you dared state that maybe, just maybe, the umpire was just doing his job? The attack juices started frothing. I am not certain they have subsided yet either.

What to do when you've made someone angry

The real challenge comes in trying to right your unintentional wrong. “I didn’t mean that,” you splutter into the comments line of your Facebook post. Too bad, no-one can hear you splutter, or see the look of concern or shock on your face. The horse has bolted, so to speak.

When people get hooked and positional, there is little one can do other than stand back and let the vitriol roll like an acid tsunami. If you think you can swim it - go ahead - but I would not advise it. You will end up roasted, burnt and sore.

How do you prove you're sorry?

I have some people that don’t like me very much. They used to, but don’t anymore, for some very specific reasons. I appreciate their standpoint, if not their judgment. I have never had the opportunity to answer for my crimes and even if I had it probably would not have made much difference. I would still be the [insert expletive here]. As much as I would love everybody to sit around the campfire and sing “Kumbaya” it’s never going to happen.

The way they feel is never about me, it’s about them. Their beliefs and values, their disappointments, fears and anger. It is their story steeped in unresolved hurts and still open wounds, poked and reopened by what I did or said. This time it is easier to stand back and hold my centre, I don’t have to see them. This isn’t always the case. When someone in front of me gets upset by something I have done or said, it is not as easy to hold the space with dignity and respect. If I can, it may give both of us pause to consider our role in the upset and for each of us to take responsibility for how we feel and heal our own hurt. It is the 5th Place way, a vision for the world.

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The way you feel when I unintentionally offend you, is never about me, it is about your unresolved hurts and the still open wounds that I happened to poke and reopen.

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Chantal Dawtrey

Chantal loves to learn and loves to work with people who want to learn. She is the co-founder of 5th Place and co-creator of Shape of Emotion.

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