Don’t worry about pissing people off

All through my life, I grew up with people telling me not to offend anybody, and for the most part that’s how I lived my life.

I of course have offended people, but unintentionally (for the most part), and regretfully (for the most part).

But I notice the cost of that.  It prevented me from being daring, because I didn’t want to offend anybody.

I think that’s what happens when you value safety above your self-expression and making a difference in the world.

You keep your head down and you stay in a box.

You see you can’t become anybody with pissing off somebody.

And the bigger you wish to be, the bigger the difference you wish to make, the more ‘bodies’ you will piss off.  Ask any public figure or look at the people who left their mark in history.

Once you stand for something, you’ll find people who stand against it—and you.  That’s just the way life works

The focus of course is not to piss off people just for the sake of pissing them off.  (Unless that’s how you get your jollies.) The idea here is to speak with integrity about a position you believe in or stand against, and not be concerned about the feelings of those who hold the opposite view.  In many cases—not all—they are indeed your enemies.

Speaking with integrity means being consistent, and acknowledging when and why you’re not (nothing in life is black and white).

So know what you’re about, have integrity about it, and don’t worry about pissing people off.  You will and that’s a good sign.  When you start getting negative reactions you know you’re pushing buttons.  As long as you’re also getting the thumbs up and defenders of your words you know you’re on the right track.

A Great Example

Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are two guys that are great examples of speaking out against hypocrisy with humor and often with biting insight.  In the May 13 2011 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, in the wake of the killing of America’s #1 most wanted guy, Bill confronts the hypocrisy of evangelical Christians in America.

It’s very funny—at least if you’re not an evangelical Christian.  If the link above doesn’t work, you can find it in the podcasts of the iTunes store; look for Real time with Bill Maher episode #213 (originally aired 5/13/11).  It starts at about 51:50 (six minutes before the end).

Here are some excerpts from that piece:

 

“If you’re a christian who supports killing your enemies and torture you have to come up with another name for yourself.”

“capping thine enemy is not what Jesus would do …”

“Martin Luthor King gets to call himself a Christian, because he actually practiced loving his enemies, …”

“…but if you rejoice in revenge, torture and war … you cannot say that you’re a follower of the guy who explicitly said ‘Love your enemies,’ and do good to those who hate you, … the next line isn’t send in a titanium fanged dog to rip his nuts off.”

“Jesus lays on that hippy stuff pretty thick. He has lines like ‘do not repay evil with evil’ and ‘do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you’ … really …it’s in that book you hold up and scream at gay people.”

“… and non-violence was kind of Jesus’ trademark, kind of his big thing,… to not follow that is like joining GreenPeace and hating whales.”

“there’s interpreting and there’s just ignoring … it’s just ignoring if you’re for torture …”

 

You get the drift.  Bill has a LOT of enemies, but he also has a lot of people that follow and support him.  For them he is their voice.  Don’t let fear of what other people might say, stop you from finding yours.

 

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