In this episode of the Wise Whys podcast, we discuss how choosing to be offended by someone’s words or actions can result in giving away our power and leaving ourselves open to emotional manipulation. We explore the reasons why people might choose to be offended and offer practical strategies for reframing our thinking and taking responsibility for our emotions. Overall, this thought-provoking and insightful conversation encourages listeners to take ownership of their emotional responses and approach interactions with empathy and understanding.
[00:00:21] Alexander: Welcome everyone to the Wise Whys. Alexander here with my co-host-
[00:00:26] Aaron: Aaron Keith. And we're mixing it up a little bit with Alexander starting it out.
[00:00:29] Alexander: Yeah. Yeah. We keep it fresh. And today we're going to talk about a subject or a few subjects that just kind of got sparked in a conversation before we actually got into the recording studio today. And it's going to be around being defensive or being offended, and why we go into almost an automatic reaction of defensiveness when we feel like somebody has offended us. And we're also, I think, going to go down the path of when we have offended someone else and many of us have the urge to correct that or be seen in a different way, and just in general, how much energy that either being on the offense or the defense takes.
[00:01:11] Aaron: And I think to set this conversation off right, I think a good way of setting it up in your mind is to look at it as energy and not as an act. Because I feel like we give words power and the term "offended me" is something that is being used a lot in our culture. And it feels like, from an outsider, I mean, I do participate in this culture, but it feels like from somebody observing culture, that it's getting worse or it's becoming more commonplace. But I feel like if we look at it as just energy, and we're going to get into reasons why energetically we may feel like we're being offended by something or we may feel like we need to be on the defense of something, it takes away the judgment of it, possibly?
[00:01:57] Alexander: Mm-hmm. Yes. And as you were saying, our culture is so inundated right now with being offended. There's a lot of the media that polarizes certain issues to, you know, keep that anger that those different views fighting each other. And there needs to be a remembering that being offended is a choice. Like, someone making you angry. And we use these terms like, "When you said this, you made me so angry" or "I got so offended by what this person said on social media". And like you were saying, it is a level of giving your power away. It's exhausting energy rather than learning to see it and to communicate it as, "I experienced someone's opinion today, and unfortunately I took that offensively, and I'm looking forward to dissecting that and getting back to a level of peace and acceptance," Because again, the acceptance doesn't mean condoning or approving of, it just means accepting that someone has a different view than you do on a certain subject. And when we get caught into this duality, as our second pillar in the J.U.S.T. Philosophy is Polarity vs Duality, the duality world is when you want to overcome somebody's way of thinking and either force or get them to see your way, and the polarity view is accepting that as soon as you have a certain view of a certain subject, there has to be one or more people on the other side that feels just as strongly in an opposite direction.
[00:03:36] And so again, the accepting of that takes away a lot of the energy to defend, to correct, to be heard and made sure that we're understood completely. And I think that the more we get into this, especially in the extended conversation, to see that there is such a power in acceptance. And that's what I'm really going to work to get across, that it's the opposite of giving your power away because you're standing full in your power of your view when you accept someone's exact opposite view.
[00:04:08] Aaron: And so for someone who may have not heard us talk about this in a past podcast, or somebody new tuning in, when you say that it's a choice to be offended or it's a choice to feel a certain emotion, anger, sadness, somebody might not understand that completely hearing it for the first time and they may actually be offended. So. [Sure.] So let's, can we bring in a little more of the background of where that comes from?
[00:04:33] Alexander: Yeah. So, in my experience of developing the philosophy and working with managing these emotions, I had to see that there was no control or management of the external. How somebody's going to feel about something or even more so, how they are going to represent and share that. I see so many people trying to correct people and say, "Oh, you shouldn't say it like that," or "You shouldn't feel that way," and again, in that type of confrontation, I've never really seen anybody change their mind. Now they may appease the person in that situation because they may want to avoid conflict. But typically, when there are two opposing views, very rarely does one of those opposing views change. So when I realize that if I take full responsibility of my emotions, which is another pillar of our Five Pillars, which is Emotional Accountability and Responsibility, in that, if I allow what somebody says, or what somebody does, to affect me in a negative emotional way, that is what I begin to see as giving your power away.
[00:05:46] I like to compare it very similar to sports teams and that you might happen to like the Pittsburgh Steelers and somebody else likes the Dallas Cowboys. And see, in sports and things like that, we give a certain amount of room for people to be fans of different teams, but see the person that appreciates Pittsburgh more, they might can give stats, you know, they get in these arguments of "Who's the better team?" throughout history and all this kind of thing and this could be very similar as the vaccine or whether it's conspiracy theories or whatever, to understand that opinions are just that. Everybody is going to have opinions, but if you get upset at someone having an opposite opinion of yours, in my view and my experience, it means that you're not as clear as you need to be in your view. So if there's any need to be defensive, if there's any need to explain yourself beyond, "Oh, my favorite football team is Pittsburgh Steelers," and somebody else says, "Well, my favorite team is Dallas Cowboys. Hey, high five". Why can't that be okay?
[00:06:54] And it's the same thing with any subject that if you feel a certain way about the so-called vaccines and somebody else feels very different, see, I want to be compassionate and I want to hear their point of view. I'll even invite their point of view, because I have seen and proven in my own experience that when you allow people to be received right off the bat, they are normally more willing to listen to your point of view. So in that, bringing that back full circle, that if I'm busy living my life feeling like I'm a victim and I am subject to somebody else's emotional whim, that is leading down a path of not standing in your authority. To where if you are working towards wanting to be solid, wanting to be grounded, wanting to be centered, it's similar to a tree. Trees in a storm are flexible and most time they bend. Sometimes they come unrooted. But that's the way that I look to be in this world is flexible but grounded. And to realize that if I need to get my point across emphatically, then I have some doubt somewhere in my mind around that subject. And see, sometimes it's training from our childhood and if you're in just a controversial type of environment growing up where the mom and dad, or mom and siblings, or dad and siblings are constantly arguing about stuff, see you can think that that's just the way that communication happens. But it doesn't have to be that way, and I think shifting this to the understanding of taking full responsibility for your emotions and working just in the beginning to get away from saying, "So-and-so made me mad", or "This made me sad," instead to share the experience and said, "When I found out this news, I experienced sadness. But through that sadness, I was able to see this beauty and this lesson out of it". And that's what we're really looking for, is what I'd call the 360-Degree View, that we allow to see something for exactly the way that is, learn not to judge it, and then see how firmly you feel about the view that you're holding. And if you have this urge to correct, to get your point across, the more emphatic that that is, probably the more you truly doubt what you're speaking of. And this is just very common in our culture for people to get in discussions, disagreements, arguments, and even into fights over just differing opinions of a subject.
[00:09:34] Aaron: Yeah, I think it's very important to look at it from another angle because our culture looks at somebody offending somebody else as hurting them or inflicting pain on somebody else, almost like they're doing it on purpose and that person, or group of people, that find something offensive is the victim. And so it's important to state that when you find something, or you claim to be offended by something, that you are taking on a victim role. And I would also bring in that you're also trying to control a situation, because by claiming that you're offended by something, you're trying to control that person not doing that so it is also a judgment. But I would point out by claiming to be offended by something, and like you brought up, you're actually giving up your power because you're allowing that person's words or opinion to essentially control you and to control your emotional state. And we would call that manipulation, and that's widely accepted in modern day psychology, is this emotional manipulation. [Mm-hmm.] So we can see that if you are allowing yourself to be offended by somebody else, you are essentially inflicting emotional manipulation onto yourself, right?
[00:10:53] Alexander: Yes. Yes. You're allowing their intention, because a lot of people that are offensive out there in the world, they feed off of this reaction. And so, the best way to deal with a bully is not to participate. And to, you know, see their forcefulness as to show them that "Well, no matter how you say this or present it, it's not going to upset me because I'm so firm in like, the way I see this".
[00:11:22] And how this happens from time to time in my life is in sessions with private clients. You know, I work with people of all different faiths and spiritual paths, and I work with even with so-called non-believers. And I've had people that will come in and say, "Hey, I want to go ahead and let you know that I don't believe in any God or any of this astrology stuff," or any of that stuff. And see, I want to be completely comfortable, and that person to see that I'm comfortable, for them to say that. Because I am so rooted in my faith and my understanding of the tools that I utilize in my own life, such as astrology, of how useful that is, that I'm able to accept that this person just hasn't been able to see the usefulness of it. And maybe they've tried, maybe they haven't. But the very first thing is to make people feel received. And normally what I see is when somebody feels received it eases the tension. That people are so used to getting rejected, getting defensive, that they go into the argument with such a strong statement that they're prepared for, you know, an attack. And when you don't give that attack back, and it's very important that this is earnest, to truly work toward that somebody else's opinion or way of seeing things does not have to affect your way of seeing things or your experience at all.
[00:12:50] But there's this sense of that everybody's the word police, and I've been guilty of this in the past, and that if something that is said that, you know, they don't agree with, then they feel it's a responsibility to point this out and correct, so to say. And unfortunately, this just very rarely works. And, I find that sometimes that even if your opinion is invited in, if you don't feel like it can be received, then my question is why give it if it's just going to stimulate more resistance in that other person? And that might even up the ante for them to say something or to do something that's even more offensive.
[00:13:28] So, this challenge mentality is what I really want to kind of put to rest and to see that when you take the time to check in, and yes, if you take something offensively and you can't get centered to see at least the potential or why that view has to exist, then again, the pillar of polarity just helps break that through. That we do experience both polarity and duality in this world, and the difference in those is duality carries resistance to what the other person is saying or doing, and the view of polarity is that you already know that that opposite view has to exist, so you're not surprised by this different view. And in that situation, when you do see it through polarity, you don't need to correct, and they have a different experience in that so-called confrontation. Because again, most people are used to getting in a pushing match, and if you're confident in how you feel about the subject, you don't need to push back.
[00:14:28] Aaron: And I would imagine that those out there who choose to find the offensive nature of many things on a daily basis, they're probably not happy or content in their lives. And on this podcast, talking about the J.U.S.T. Philosophy, we're all about finding contentment and it all being a choice. Like, none of this is something that's naturally going to happen. [Right.] And if we allow things to naturally unfold, we're going to go where the energy is. And in our culture it's more in line with finding what's offensive so that you can feel like you have power over somebody else. But, you know, in this podcast we're giving you tools and techniques to have the option to choose to no longer live in that state of being. And so you can choose to be content, you can choose to be happy, you can choose to no longer allow somebody else to affect how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
[00:15:23] You talked about the people who intentionally try to offend people [mm-hmm.] out there, and I think that's a good thing to bring up. And again, if we look at it energetically, there's a term that many people use and they say, "Oh, he's just trying to get a rise out of you," [Right.] and so this person, you know, if you try to like visually look at it, this person is trying to provoke you to steal your energy, basically. They feed off that response and so they're challenging you. And I understand, being a very competitive person, that that challenge is very hard to not engage with. But whenever, and this is something that you've said since the very start of me knowing you and getting into this type of work, is when you give that person the energy back you justify their initial energy. [Yes.] But if, you don't, then sometimes it leaves them looking at their own behavior because usually they don't know why they're doing the provoking. [Mm-hmm.] It's their subconscious, it's their automatic.
[00:16:28] So when you look at the world from a neutral standpoint, just observe, we're really just people bumping into each other, reenacting what we've been taught behaviorally on our subconscious, and we're just allowing everybody else to steal our power and to tell us how to react emotionally. And doing this work adds that layer of consciousness within yourself so you can pause and have a choice. "Do I want to participate in that?" "Do I want to participate in being content today?" It's all a choice. So that's really what we're getting down to when we are talking about this subject or really many other subjects, is the choice to become a conscious person.
[00:17:10] Alexander: Yes. Because it gets back to the foundation of sound therapy or sound healing. It comes back to the vibe. So every time that you go into a angry thought or angry vibration, it depletes your energy field. So realizing that, when I went through my healing process 15 years ago, and after the loss of Sherri, that I had to see and realize that I did have these choices about the vibration that I want to carry around, which directs what we attract in. And that I had to start asking myself, "Is this person, this situation, this subject, worth me shifting my vibration?" For what to prove a point? To try to be right? So this directed me toward the saying, that now is utilized very often in this work, "Would you rather be right or would you rather be helpful?" And when I let go of wanting to be right, that competitive energy that you're talking about, and many of us have the competitive energy, but the way that I like to twist the competition is no more external competition. The competition now is in me not allowing somebody to knock me off center. And, that if I do get emotional by something that someone says or does, then I just lost that little battle. But I don't beat myself up for it. I go, "Okay, what did they say, or what did they do that sent me over that edge?" And I want to be more prepared for that, whatever is said or whatever was done next time when it comes, and normally that's directly connected to acceptance.
[00:18:48] Aaron: So I think we've primed this topic real well, and in the complete conversation we are going to touch upon what do we do when we are finding ourselves finding things offensive, and how to redirect that energy when that situation comes up. But, then also, what happens when somebody else is offended by something we do? How do we react to that? What are the steps to take when that happens? And then also, when that happens, to choose not to get offended by them being offended. And I think that's a cycle that, at least I've noticed within myself. And we'll get into just the overall usefulness of what being offended can help us work on and other ways to help step more into our power so we can choose to live a more fulfilling life for ourselves.
[00:19:35] Alexander: Yeah, it's going to be interesting. Let's get into it.
[00:19:38] Aaron: All right, so we are going to kick this complete conversation off with just discussing the things that we can find offensive nowadays. And it's really pretty much anything. It could be words, it could be a flag that somebody's flying, it could be comedy, which seems [Mm-hmm.] kind of funny that some people are taking comedy offensive. It could be art. It could be shirt that somebody's wearing. It could be something even somebody's doing energetically. [Mm-hmm.] These are all things that come into our lives that we experience on a day-to-day basis, and we have the choice to be offended by whatever it is, or now we're giving you the power back where you can choose not to. And we're going to get into the steps in which to take it, and the different perspectives that you can take on to help kind of rewrite that process that has been instilled in us to immediately, "Oh, that's offensive to me. That's offensive to me. That's not how I would want it." And I would even say that maybe choosing to be offended is also maybe a synonym of judging something.
[00:20:47] Alexander: Yes, yes. And you know, as you work on non-judgment, which is highly suggested, it does take you away from being as offended, of course, as easily. Bringing back the second pillar of Polarity Versus Duality that we mentioned in the previous part of this podcast. That's truly looking at everything from that polarity view, that however you feel about something, taking it to comparison of sports teams, is that. You know, many people develop their appreciation for the sports teams by just where they live. And some people pick favorite sports teams by the players. So, there's all these different criteria of how somebody picks something that they so-called believe in. It's just as futile to me for two people to argue over who's the best sports team, as it is even two people to argue over something as serious as the vaccine or the Confederate flag or whatever. This non-acceptance that these different views have to exist simultaneously. And that it's not about convincing or correcting others, but it is about developing your view of whatever that subject is in a way to where it can't be knocked off center no matter what someone says.
[00:22:17] It happens from time to time in my private sessions where somebody will mention that they don't necessarily believe in a God or they don't believe in astrology. They feel that life is all chaos and there is no divinity in it. See, I've been through so much in my life through death and through love that can't be explained scientifically, so to say. But at the same time, you can't truly describe something like love. You can try to write about it, and there's a lot of poems and things out there that's been created around it. But when you truly experience it, it's not something that you can convey with words. So the more you try, the more frustrating it can become. And I think that if people looked at just their opinions on certain subjects, that those opinions many times are limited by the correct amount of information, or it's hindered by family lineage and things that have been passed down. So some people don't only feel like they're defending their view but like their family's view or their tribe's view. And these aren't the times that we live in, like in the past where tribes were against each other or families were against each other, you know, that was like, maybe much more important. But now in this self-development work, I've seen over time that there's very little few things that I need to make a stand for, because the way that I see it because I do accept this polarity view. That the opposite has to exist. And then I want to just put my energy into building whatever I trust and feel is useful to me, rather than trying to tear down somebody else's view.
[00:24:06] So that's my suggestion right off the bat in this part of the podcast is, whatever you feel so strongly about to actually practice at least understanding why someone would see it from the other view. And that can be very helpful. That doesn't mean you have to change your mind, but it's called working with a compassionate view or an empathic view. And to realize that yes, some of the things that some people's families have been through, whether it's racial charge or things like that, that that is generational. And sometimes it bleeds over generation to generation. That's very, you know, unfortunate. But it's a fact of our culture.
[00:24:51] So when sharing our opinions, I just start there to question why is it really important that you want to share your opinions so emphatically and maybe the more emphatically that you want to share it, the more you need to look at you're not as clear in this subject as possible, because I personally want to be able to hear the exact opposite view around any subject that I have and not have this need to correct that person. And in that, the person that practices that, is going to be offended by very, very little stuff just as if it's something as silly as somebody saying that the sky is brown, you know, and if I see it as blue. I just got to a point where there was no need to be right anymore. I just wanted to be helpful. And so in that, if the person chooses in their perception to see the sky as brown that day, I don't need to change their view. But I might speak my truth. Like I like to say is, "Truth doesn't need defending, it just needs to be shared". So, to be able to say, "Man, I see the sky as blue, but I accept and would love to understand your view of how you see it brown," and for that to be authentic is part of growing and really even expanding the way that you feel about a certain subject is when you are willing to hear somebody else's view and it's not threatening to you.
[00:26:18] Aaron: I'm glad you brought in groups and tribes and families because I feel like that's a big part of this. We tend to be part of groups and clubs and then subscribe to what that group subscribes to, and we can get into this kind of group think where if somebody or some part of a group that we belong to is offended by, you know, one thing out there, then we may feel like we all just need to be offended by it because we need to back up that person or back up whatever the group stands by. Or if there's some sort of competition, we need to judge something out there. And I feel like it's called self-development work because it's about ourself. And so maybe part of what we need to be doing is looking at our subscriptions to groups out there and labels and things that we feel part of where we may be giving our power or our discernment over to them. How do we start making this a choice more about what we're going to be offended by or not offended by, and kind of take our power back?
[00:27:26] Alexander: One place to start is to always be willing to give what you are looking to gain. So, for those people that want to be heard more, want to be respected more, want their side of the story to hold more validity, then the practice is in allowing other people to share their views and you be receptive to that. If you want to be received more, then you go out and practice receiving people. You don't tell them to receive you more. That's, uh, "I'm not being received enough" or "I'm not being heard" and that's what happens so often. Then that creates the frustration, because the person doesn't feel like they're being heard or respected. So, they try to forcefully get it rather than showing the other person what it feels like to be received, even if you don't agree with what the person is saying. Because again, acceptance doesn't mean condoning or approving of, and just because you're allowing somebody to say their view does not mean that you're in agreement with it. So, this is one of the biggest challenges in self-development work. Many times we want to be the boss and we want to tell other people what they should do and how they should handle this and that when really the work to do is that whatever you want to tell that other person you exemplify around them. And sometimes this could take weeks or months or even years to get it across, but you know, you teach somebody to listen to you by listening to them. Not by telling them to listen to you.
[00:28:59] Aaron: I think taking inventory of that, of really understanding what things that you want because a lot of times we're living in reaction mode, and we're not clear on what we even want because we're just reacting to what everybody else is doing. So maybe the first step should be get grounded somehow.
[00:29:22] Alexander: Well, yes, and this comes back to the sports analogy that I gave, is that say you're, you know, you're on the Pittsburgh Steelers and these other people like Dallas better. And so the way we approach it is typically, in our culture, we go try to tear down the Dallas team rather than just getting better on your team. And so every time that you need or have the urge to tear something down, then redirect that energy to build what you believe in, build up. And so much energy is just wasted on trying to prove somebody else wrong or prove a subject to be your preference rather than just putting the work into, like I was saying earlier, your team. Making your team stronger. And, you know, somebody that believes in God, they should be comfortable where around somebody that doesn't believe in God, rather than trying to prove it to that person, they just go live their life. And they should experience more joy, more compassion, all of that, and over time it might show this person without faith that, hey, having a certain type of faith really seems to serve that person. And maybe I want to open that door to look at that again. But, not many people are going to change by somebody yelling at them or telling them that they should change, that they're seeing it wrong, they're doing it wrong. And that is the language of our culture.
[00:30:50] Aaron: I feel like this conversation is inviting in the Three Rs for this process. Because I feel like the pause initially is really important if you are finding yourself operating out of just reacting. Because you first need to recognize that you are reacting [Mm-hmm.] and to pause. And then I feel like the Three Rs can come in.
[00:31:10] Alexander: Yes. Yes. The recognize the person, place, or situation. Learn to respect it. Show respect, which is stopping the judging of it. And then redirect it in a more useful direction. with the sports analogy, again, somebody says that Dallas is the best team, then the players on Pittsburgh practice more. They work harder to build their team up to show something different that this person can't see yet, and that's going to do a whole lot better work than trying to tear down the so-called Dallas team. And we're careful here to pick any specific subjects because we're not interested here, in this podcast, of giving our opinions about how we feel about certain things. Because again, we're compassionate about the way that everybody sees things differently. And most of the time that is a certain sense of information, or it's a certain sense of insecurity of why people stand so firmly behind subjects that they can't necessarily be in comfort around the challenge. And, I love watching artists, musicians, athletes that are confident in themselves that they're able to invite other people that could possibly be their competitors in to be part of something that they're doing and get rid of that external competition.
[00:32:39] And again, I'm a fan, in self-development work, for internal competition. The fact that you want to measure and you want to get better at somebody being able to make you angry or somebody offending you and those types of things. And, I think one of the big steps, in that Three Rs, is the Respect level. That middle level. And just because you respect someone's opinion, again, doesn't mean that you agree with it. And getting rid of this challenging energy I think is one of those steps to help in this. And again, the more firm you are in the way you see something, it should be the less that you need to defend it.
[00:33:18] Aaron: So, it's been challenging to find an example that, that we wouldn't offend anybody with, which is funny because the podcast is about offending. But, I'll use myself as an example because in a past episode I've talked about how I really like eating healthy. And I try to keep my diet pretty healthy, but, of course, like it's not a hundred percent. But then we brought in like the hypothetical example of if I'm in a relationship and that person chooses to eat something unhealthy. And so that is something realistically that could offend me and it could like, bypass all of the work that I've done because it is in a close relationship of mine and that's the hardest work for me to do. And that's where a lot of my focus is nowadays is the closest relationships.
[00:34:02] And so if the person I'm hypothetically in a relationship with comes home with McDonald's [Mm-hmm.] and I feel like we have this unsaid agreement that we're kind of on the same page as far as health goes. And so I immediately feel like this tightness in my chest, and I'm like, "What? I thought we were on the same path?" Because I probably would take it personal because if I'm in this relationship, and especially if I'm like married to somebody, like their health is my responsibility just as much as my health is my responsibility, in a way. Because I'm kind of responsible for them, you know, through that contract of marriage. And so, that I could see this happening and me being offended by this. [Mm-hmm.] So using the Three Rs, what would be a proper response for myself to take responsibility for that reaction and not be offended?
[00:34:51] Alexander: Yes. Well, right off the bat is in any communication you want to do your best not to offend them in what you're bringing up. So, this is an example where potentially less words could be useful. And again, we're going to bring that back to an example. So, with the Three Rs here to answer your question, you would recognize right off the bat that you have a resistance to this pattern that they're doing, and you can feel a responsibility to redirect that. But see, first, before we redirect it, we need to learn to respect it, and in that respect is stopping the judgment of it. So, rather than asking them "Why did you get McDonald's?" or, "You shouldn't eat that kind of food," or something like that. Possibly, it could be the next day that when you get up, you could get up a little bit early and make your partner a to-go meal. And this may be out of character for you, something that you don't normally do. And they might go, "Well, what, what are you doing? Why are you making me a lunch?" Well, I just noticed yesterday that you chose to eat some food that I thought we both felt that it wasn't good for you. Maybe it was an emergency. I don't know the situation, but I just want to do whatever I can to help you to not be in that situation again. I don't want you to feel like you need to explain yourself or anything. I just felt guided to get up, make sure that you had food to take with you today. And, I would be willing to do that for you whenever you need it, rather than that being an option. Or, asking you if you have a banana or an apple with you to make sure that you're not in that emergency state of making poor choices to get something convenient.
[00:36:38] So see, the respect level is getting out of that judgment and then the redirection is, "What am I willing to do?" not tell the other person what they should do, but what am I willing to do to [A] be the example and be the proponent to help them to get back on the track that you would like them to be. And we're just, we're so guilty of telling others what they should do and how they should do it, and when they should do it, when what's needed most is the example. And see, in that situation, you're doing a loving gesture that is not intentional to make the person feel small. It is showing, "No, I care about you and I'm willing to do this for you if this is what's necessary." And I think the majority of people are going to be able to receive that, see kind of what they did, and again, if they go into justifying or explaining, I like to say, "Please, I don't want you to feel like you've got to explain yourself. I just want to be the best partner that I can, as an example and a proponent to move you in the direction that I feel like is healthy or best for both of us."
[00:37:45] Aaron: So, yeah, I think in my mind I'm kind of struggling around the respect part. What if they say something like, "Oh, well I like to have it every once in a while and I need you to not feel like it's a big deal."
[00:37:59] Alexander: Well then here is where it is your work that we can't control anybody else. It's actually not our responsibility for someone else's health or regimen or anything like that because we could go into somebody not exercising as much as you do, somebody not contacting their mother as much as you do, see this is never ending when we compare ourselves to someone else. So again, the respect level of Recognize, Respect, and Redirect is to get to that point of not judging it because you accept that maybe this person has to go through this to maybe have stomach aches, or colds, or sickness, and then that you prove that this over here has a better track record at all of that. So, sometimes it's hard. One of the hardest things in self-development is for you to move through obstacles and then watch other people that you care about move through their obstacles the way that they need to. And if it is affecting you and your life, then you are judging it. You are being offensive with more than likely your words, your actions and everything.
[00:39:11] So, in that kind of situation, see, it's fine. Everybody needs to set boundaries and live within those boundaries. But, if you set an unrealistic boundary, not for you, but for somebody else, see, everybody does different levels of discipline. And if I sit around all the time thinking about how everybody's not meeting the bar of self discipline like I have over the 25 years, I'm not going to have a minute of contentment. And so see, there's a difference between assessing a situation and judging it. And in that situation, when you do judge something like McDonald's food so harshly, you still need to give the other person the freedom to come to their own conclusion, their own understanding of that. Because what happens many times is that yes, somebody will change because their partner wants them to, because maybe they're scared of abandonment or losing them or whatever it is, but then that creates bitterness and resentment or it creates an opportunity for lying to where they say, "Okay, I won't eat this anymore", but then they do like behind your back.
[00:40:19] And so, I want to work towards always making everybody feel strong, that they're making their own decisions. I've been clear in sharing my view of it. And then my personal work is to accept where that person is and to be willing to, you know, again, acceptance isn't approving or condoning it, but then look at what can I do to show them support in another way. Such as, every time we leave the house, I'm going to ask my partner, if that was the case, if this was in my relationship, I'm going to ask them if they have a banana or an apple in their purse or their bag to take with them to make sure they don't get hungry. And, they might say, "Oh no, I didn't grab anything," and then I'll walk over and I'll get it and I'll hand it to them. But, at the same time, I'm not going to say, "You should do this every time you leave the house". Just, "Hey, I feel like this is a good idea. We're going out. We don't know how long we're going to be away from food, so let's make sure we have something." So see, something like that is a practice I do my best to do in general, is to always have water and always have some type of a handful of some type of food to make sure that if you are in that situation and you need some nourishment, you don't have to make a poor decision.
[00:41:34] So again, your example of being consistent with that is going to be a whole lot more useful for them being in your presence than you constantly berating them and them feeling judged. Because again, when somebody feels judged, many times it makes them buck up. And even if they know that eating that McDonald's is bad, it can send them in that direction just out of spite. So, working with people we love and our preferences again, this is very complex, but people get into this with their children, you know, and people try to manage and control what their children eat, but they always get to a point to where they get their license and they're out driving and they can go eat anything they want to anyway. So, I do feel like the example, showing support, and then gentle reminders is the highest likelihood to shift and change that person's choices.
[00:42:27] Aaron: Yeah, I would hope before I would even bring that up, that I would look at my own behavior and my diet would have to be squeaky clean for me to bring it up in a certain way. Otherwise, I do like your way of putting in the effort if it really does mean that much to you and you really do care on that level for their health, then you put the energy in. And maybe even if they like the taste of it, maybe offering to make them a burger and do the research to try to recreate that whole taste, but maybe from a whole foods level where you're actually buying the fresh ingredients and creating the same sauce or whatever it is.
[00:43:01] Alexander: Yes, yes. that's the thing is that many, especially in foods, you know, there's additives put in to create addictions and that kind of thing. So, that's a good example to show the person that you may not be looking for that you just want a burger, but you want this McDonald's burger because of the things that they put in it. So yeah, let's create something over here that you enjoy just as much and make it in the healthiest way as possible. Because again, the less that you can stay away from absolutes and telling people that you can't have this. Just to have that a suggestion of, "Hey, let's recreate it in a healthy way. And that can be even drawing in more intimacy, it can be something that is done together and it becomes like this research of, Yeah, how can we make that Big Mac sauce in a similar way with maybe some pickle relish and some mayonnaise and some ketchup, and get the ratios. So, it can turn into something that's very fun and expanding for the relationship. But the main thing is that, again, when you get offended, then normally what happens in the communication after that being offended normally isn't supportive or that person doesn't feel it to be supportive.
[00:44:16] So I think that that is a big part of it. Finding a way to make sure that yes, you're being the best example that you can be. Being compassionate and looking at yourself and just taking that, okay, well here it is in food for them, where in my life do I cheat myself in quality of things? That could be sleep, it could be many different things. And put your focus on, again, tightening up your ship, and their shortcoming just reminded you of a different type of shortcoming that you have, and, the more that you work on yourself and be that example, the more likely it is to inspire somebody to make different choices.
[00:44:56] Aaron: Dang man, I think I need a burger.
[00:44:58] Alexander: [Laughs] Me too!
[00:44:59] Aaron: Is it, this isn't another lasagna episode. Oh, okay. Uh, now let's get into, when somebody else finds something offensive that you've done and you didn't mean it that way, what's a good way of communicating with that person and trying to extinguish any sort of emotional charge that could have been created because of it.
[00:45:22] Alexander: Again, this is a practice in non-preference and I don't know that our listeners truly understand that at the deepest level, because it doesn't mean that you don't ever have a preference, it means that you're able to set that preference aside in any situation to be able to see things clearly. Because when we get emotional, we're seeing things through that emotional goggle. If we get offended and we get angry, then we're seeing everything through the view of anger. So, in a situation that I experienced in my
[00:45:51] family, I was talking to a very Christian oriented person in my family, and I was using the term Divine energy. And in the beginning of me being of service to people, I worked with all types of people and belief systems, as I do now, and I was looking for the most neutral way to talk about that higher vibration, that highest energy, the creator of this experience. And, Divine energy was what I come up with that seemed to work whether I was working with certain Christians or Buddhist or non-believers or whatever it was. And, I was using that term and this person said, "What do you mean by that?" And I said, "Well, you could relate it to what you believe God is." And I said, "To me, that is what Divine energy is." And they said, "Well, why can't you just say God then?" And I said, "Well, because I work with a lot of different faiths and practices and that kind of thing, and that's the most neutral phrase that I've come up with." And I said, "So when I used that Divine energy, can you just translate it as God for you?" And they said, "No, I need you to use God". Well see, that was an opportunity for me to be offended. And, right there, I felt that little bit of a blow. It's in my abdomen, little twist. And then, right away, I just kind of took a pause and I said, "You know what? I will do my absolute best at when I'm speaking with you to use the term God," and they just said, "Well, good, I'm glad to hear that," and walked away.
[00:47:29] See, again, all of this working with either being offended or offending somebody else is the art of it is your willingness to not cater to people, but your willingness not to carry as many preferences as they do. Because again, if the point is communication, if the point is to grow more intimacy, then one should be willing to be the example. Because see, I asked them, I said, "Can't you just translate this?" They said, "No," so then I went and did exactly what I wanted them to do. And they said, "I need you to say the word God," and I was willing to do that because I want to show them this is how easy it is to translate one word to another. And in the English language, there's so many words that mean similar things. I mean, it's almost gotten out of hand. And so to have that flexibility is the one that I see that's able to stand in their power, not look at it as catering to people, but being interested in communicating and being the example of what you would like that person to learn.
[00:48:39] Aaron: So where is the line? Because there's a lot of people pointing out things that they're offended by. And I know we're not suggesting you just roll over and give them whatever they want.
[00:48:52] Alexander: No.
[00:48:52] Aaron: We're not saying that. But where is the line in how we accommodate? And, I'll bring in the example that we did an episode on, and funny enough, it came up earlier in a conversation where I created a social media post with an image that somebody found offensive. And, you came to me and told me about this, and we had a long conversation about it, and the whole, "Would you rather be right or be useful or helpful" came up. And I really resonated with that because to me, I wasn't trying to make a stand with my image. It was just like a funny post and it was taken completely wrong and my intention was pure in my posting of it. And because I took the time to learn why that person's viewpoint allowed them to arrive at a conclusion to be offended by it, I was able to see that, okay, well it's going to cost me nothing to take it down [Mm-hmm.] because I have no stake in the game. I have no energy. I'm not trying to prove anything. And so I didn't want to offend anybody else because that was never my intention. So, I gladly took it down and that was the end of it from my end. I didn't give it any other energy. But, I could see times when there could be something where maybe I put a piece of artwork that I did and somebody says that's offensive, and even though I didn't intend for it to be offensive, I choose to not take it down because it's a piece of artwork and I'm proud of it because of the energy, or the emotional, or the expression of emotions that I put into it. Let's just say it's a painting or something like that. [Mm-hmm.] So, where would the work come in here? I have a feeling it's going to be on like the cost of it, but how do we find like the line within ourselves?
[00:50:35] Alexander: Yeah, I think again, it's being able to communicate out of compassion. Being able to share what your intention was. And to not prove to them, but just to speak your truth, and then if they go, "I don't care what you say, I find this offensive," you know, I'm not saying or suggesting that you always cater to the other people, because again, we're bringing this back to self-development work. And if in self-development work, from what I see, is that I'm always willing to be the one to adapt because I want to learn to be strong in all of these situations. But something that is as subjective as art, you know, there's plenty of films that are out there, plenty of art pieces, plenty of music that someone can find offense in. But, it does help when the person or situation is interested to know what the true intention of the piece was, but some people don't care what the explanation is. They're just going to choose to be offended, and there might be times in our lives to where we make that choice in an art, that's certainly the case that there's people that love certain art or songs, and then there's other people that just don't like it at all. That is, again, part of this polarity plane.
[00:51:56] So, there are going to be situations where you just can't appease somebody and appease yourself. Especially where like art is concerned and in those situations to show the compassion that you're interested in clearing that misconception up, but if they're going to hold on to that misconception, you don't necessarily need to do anything else because you've gone through the process of wanting to explain it in a calm way, being willing to receive their judgment of it to show compassion into whatever way they are explaining it, and sometimes there's this saying of, "We just have to agree to disagree". And see, when we say that out loud, I don't see that it helps things, to verbalize that, but to remember it and think it can be very, very useful. And to just simply say I truly accept your view of it, even though I don't agree with it, I do respect it. But I do feel that I've done my best to explain it, and I do stand behind this piece of art.
[00:53:06] And you know that picture that you brought up, when I brought that situation to you, I even told you that, "Hey, I know you as a person. I know you didn't intend this the way that this person is taking it. And I wanted to make sure that you had the freedom to make that decision on your own and that I was going to support your decision no matter what it was." So, see, there was a freedom given in that to where you didn't necessarily feel the pressure from me. There was an external pressure on me, that's why I shared it with you, but sometimes we got to stand behind the intent of the piece of art, of the action, rather than the misconception and misunderstanding of how it's being received. But, I am still a fan of going through all of these steps to communicate to make sure that you're exemplifying the best you can, what you're trying to share with that person, learn everything you can for yourself to make the necessary changes you need to, and then of course, if it doesn't mean anything to you or that much, like that picture did, no, you take it down with no problem. But, if it does mean something to you, it may be worth not taking that down and just accepting, once again, that you may have to deal with other resistance to that, because I think that was another determining factor with that picture is that if one got offended, then others may get offended, so this picture just isn't that important. It wasn't necessarily a piece of art, so let me take that down. But I do follow and support artists. That is the beauty of art of many types is to activate people, activate conversations, that kind of thing, and many times the artists won't even explain themselves to say what they intended it to be because of that blowback that comes back. And so, some artists just choose to say that, it's out there for everybody to perceive differently, and I choose not to explain what my intention was when creating it. And no, I do feel that artists have the right to do that.
[00:55:07] Aaron: And so if I hypothetically left that picture up there and more people became offended, and then that bothered me internally, my work would be to work on the acceptance of not everybody's going to see things the way I do. Not everybody's going to see my own work the way that I do and bring in the Polarity Versus Duality pillar to help me work on that, right?
[00:55:32] Alexander: Yeah. Because, being an artist especially, I mean, I remember, uh, writing songs and then just of course, wanting everybody to like it. So see, if somebody didn't like it or they weren't that impressed, then I could get offended by that. But, through my acceptance of like, all the music that's out there, truly, I mean, there's many people that say, "Oh, I like all kinds of music," but normally there's a certain type of certain styles that they really don't prefer. But then, there's other people that love that kind of music. So, for me, it helps to have the mindset to accept other people's views and do as well as I can to communicate my pure intentions, and then to truly assess how big of a deal is this, and whether I feel empowered to stand in that example or to change it and make an adaptation. I mean, just the majority of the time I'm going to be willing to make that adaptation except in my art. And then, I'm going to explain that, "Hey, I didn't mean this offensively, however you're taking it. That wasn't my intention." But, I'm not going to change that verse, or I'm not going to change that word, or those lyrics, or something like that, because again, you can't please everyone. And that, again, helps to have this vision of polarity Versus Duality and people out there that's stuck in duality, they're trying to change everybody's mind to get them to see it the way they do. And people that approach life through the act of polarity accepts that there's going to be different opinions out there, people that like different things than I do. So let's go ahead and accept that there's going to be some rejection, there's going to be some resistance, and artists that stick it through, they learn to get comfortable with criticism. And, people like being very, very offended because again, that's part of that art.
[00:57:22] And it's really bad in, uh, comedy right now, you know? And a big part of comedy in the past has been making fun of things and I'm not justifying it, or certain people and creating stigmas and I'm in agreement that it doesn't help to move our culture forward and we should be able to use entertainment in a way that doesn't tear anybody down. So, I think certain arts have just got to look at refining the art. That if you can't be funny without attacking a certain subject or a certain people, then maybe you're not as good at your art that you think that you are. I know it's challenging and it would be really rough to be a comedian in these times, because sarcasm is a big part of a lot of comedians style, but not all comedians carry that style. So, again, I think before you just get so offended by the people that get offended, there's a way to hone your art in a way to still be able to be funny without tearing people down.
[00:58:26] Aaron: And I just wanted to add that if you're stuck in a dualistic mindset where you are trying to control everybody to see things the way you do, then there's never going to be a shortage of that. So, you're going to be angry and set off every day of your life. And so really it comes down to do you want that for yourself? Like, consciously sit with that. [laughter] I think most people don't even think about it, they're just like, "Well, this is the world," and you know, they're reacting to the world rather than responding. And this whole podcast was about no, you have a choice here. You can accept the world for just how it was made. Energetically, we have polar opposites, [Right.] and that has helped me so much, in these last seven years of working with you and doing the podcast. Just understanding polarity from that standpoint and that I have a choice.
[00:59:19] Alexander: To realize that, you know, opposites and friction are necessary for the majority of life that is exhibited on this earth, and the way that you keep something from growing is you stop being part of the friction of it, and sometimes that's through acceptance and adapting, and sometimes it's through attempting to communicate as best you can and then that " Let's just agree to disagree" kind of thing. But again, I like to say, do that without using that term, and another way to say it is, like I said earlier, "Oh, I think that's amazing that you see the sky as brown, because I see it as blue, but I would love to hear your explanation about how you see it that way". And, when I come across somebody that just feels that, you know, life is just pure chaos and there isn't any Divine flow or that kind of thing, I mean, it used to be offensive to me and I felt like this need to prove my view, like most people, but when I saw that when you show true intrigue to somebody's way of thinking and you ask them to explain it earnestly, not from a smart alec like position, but earnestly. Like, to anybody that thinks that life is just complete chaos, I bring up the subject of a passion flower. And, if anybody doesn't know what a passion flower is, go Google it or whatever, and look at the dimension and the depth of this, and if you can see one in person, it's just, it looks otherworldly to me, and it's just very challenging for me to accept that that level of beauty came out of chaos. But if somebody says, "Oh, absolutely there's beauty in chaos," Hey, that's a beautiful view, you know. I see it differently and I do see the Divine measurements between man and the conch shell and sacred geometry and these types of things that there's a level of divinity in that, but I'm not trying to convince you. These are just the things that wow me, so please share some more things that you appreciate about the chaos view.
[01:01:23] Because what I find is that the more that someone is offended, the majority of the time the less they can explain the situation. And so, when you turn the tables to stop the fight and you do an invitation, and don't worry about what you have to say, and they may even invite you, I call it baiting. They may even say, "Well, go ahead and say what you want to say about the subject". Many, many times I've said, 'No, no, I'm really enjoying your explanation, it's helping me to understand you better. It's helping me to understand your view of life better, and right now, that's what's most important to me". See, that's a whole different energy than the energy of "You're wrong and I'm here to tell you why you're wrong and I'm going to explain why you're wrong". And then really expecting that person to change their view is pretty futile.
[01:02:12] So again, we bring it back to being the example and being willing to be that example for long period of time. And again, if you want somebody to listen to you, then practice listening to them, and instead of telling them to listen to you. If you want your point of view to be heard, to be respected, then listen to and respect somebody else's point of view. Again, you can respect something without liking it, without approving it, but respect comes from that I don't need to change your view. I respect the way that you look at it. I look at it very differently and I would like it if you would respect my view, and I call that just conscious conversation.
[01:02:56] Aaron: I like the way you pose that because if you feel like somebody is ignorantly pushing their view or being offensive, then allowing them to explain how they feel is an indirect way for them to reflect on their own view. And if they figure out that they don't know, I mean, they may get angry in that moment, but at least they'll have that moment of, "Oh, maybe I'm not as clear as I think I am and you didn't do anything". I mean, again, it may be projected onto you, but it really is about them, and I'm not saying like to, to cause them harm by doing this, but I'm just saying it's like a win-win either way. Either you're getting their side and you can gain more respect and insight into how they feel or they're getting to see that maybe they need to do more research, basically.
[01:03:44] Alexander: Yes. Because like even bring back the McDonald's thing and say that, yeah, your partner or friend brings McDonald's and instead of being offended right away, going into judgment and then going into telling them that they shouldn't do that to earnestly, and earnest is so important here, but to earnestly inquire and say something like, "I'm not judging you for eating McDonald's, but I'm interested in why you made that choice". And, maybe it was a craving, maybe it was out of convenience, you know? Because again, I'm truly interested in knowing what that is. If it's a craving, then yes, let's find a way that we can replicate or duplicate this in another way to where you can have that flavor. If it's convenience, then let me get up a little bit earlier and help make sure that you have food with you each and every day so that you're not caught in this area of convenience again. And you know, and that can turn into just a loving gesture of just asking, "Hey, do you have an apple or a banana with you to take with you today?" Something like that could keep somebody from doing a pattern that's just easy that they've done that they feel this need to defend, and that all takes so much energy rather than exemplifying and inquiring to find out what that person is really seeking for in that poor decision.
[01:05:09] And, this is just across the board, but with whatever the decision is or the situation the key is to be earnestly interested and that's where you're helping them, because as people explain themselves, see, they hear their words and many times people can come to their own conclusion by attempting to explain what they just did. This works wonderfully with children. If they do something that you perceive as wrong, but before you judge them, before you discipline them, you question them of, "Okay, why did you do this? I'm just really interested. I don't want you to feel like you're going to get in trouble, I just really want to know," and see first they want to come up to say things that they feel like is going to keep them out of trouble, because we train them to lie, basically, but when you invite and you truly ask them to explain themselves, many times they'll get to the point to where they just realize they weren't paying attention or they were being careless with something or something like that. But see, they're only going to admit that if they don't feel like they're going to get in trouble. And so, discipline sometimes skips the step of inquiry with children, and how we manage our children is similar to how we manage our emotions, is similarly to how we manage people on the exterior. So, on all three of these levels, we can practice and get better at this and it will help on all these levels.
[01:06:32] Aaron: And in wrapping up this episode, because we did go pretty long, what can the good people out there do to start looking at maybe the things that they're offended around and start trying to neutralize those?
[01:06:47] Alexander: Well, I think a great place to practice this is on social media, and to realize that you can scan through your feed, whether that's Facebook or Instagram or whatever it is and you will find stuff more than likely that you could be offended by. And then, this is where you practice compassion and sympathy and empathy to put yourself in this other person's shoes just to be willing to see it from their perspective. That doesn't mean that it changes your perspective and your truth, but that's what compassion is about, is being able to put the shoe on the other foot and just feel like through their family lineage, through their surroundings, everything they have to deal with. Maybe they're trying to teach their children a different way. This is part of that inviting in and inquiring, from an earnest standpoint, that you truly want to understand where this person is coming from.
[01:07:42] And see, we get offended by words and I happen to feel that we should be more interested in what the person intended to get across. And we get too caught up in the words. And so that's another practice of reading a social media post that sounds offensive to you, and just to sit there and have the quandary of what are they trying to really say here? What is behind these words? And that is their truth, but when people are in their emotions, they use words without putting very much thought into it. And in that moment, they don't care who it offends. So, that's a practice in a way to make social media useful, is to just be willing to see the other person's perception from where they're coming from and to earnestly care to know that.
[01:08:33] And, this practice of paying more attention to what people intend rather than the words they choose is just an excellent practice that really helps a person in every situation of their life. Because it is about the intention. There's a saying of, "It's not what you said, it's how you said it". So, why can't we make that intention the most important thing where other people are concerned and then where we're concerned and we've been made to feel like we offended somebody to just be willing to share that intention, but not have to prove it, I think, is a big step. Because some people that aren't looking for explanation. No matter how you explain it, they're going to choose to stay offended. And in those situations, all you can do is your best to explain and then stop and accept that you want to understand where they're coming from, and I'm not going to be part of this battle or this war.
[01:09:29] Aaron: Yeah, I think that practice will even help with people deciphering their own emotional reactions and where all that's coming from. Like what is it that they want as a inner child that they're acting out that way, and vice versa. So, even practicing deciphering our own will help us decipher other people's realities.
[01:09:47] Alexander: Main thing here is, again, you accepting someone else's truth does not mean that you agree with them.
[01:09:53] Aaron: All right, everyone. Thank you for joining us on this super long episode of the Wise Whys Podcast.
[01:09:58] Alexander: Blessings.