I’ve had today’s podcast topic in the back of my mind for a long time. And honestly, I was a little hesitant to record it because I didn’t want to offend anyone. But I feel like it’s something we all need to hear, especially those of us who may be easily offended. So, enjoy.
Bonjour, and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I’m Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
Hi, beautiful friends. Welcome to another episode. I’m so happy that you’re here. One of the biggest compliments that I receive from you all who listen to the podcast is that you feel like you’re meeting up with a friend every single week. And that’s how I feel about this community.
I feel like we are likeminded people who are searching for similar things, to enjoy our lives more, to love ourselves more deeply, to blow our own minds with what’s possible. And so, for me to hear that you feel my energy towards you means so much to me. I do consider you all my friends. You do know that, right?
So, today’s topic I was not planning on recording. It’s a topic that’s been in the back of my mind for a long time. But I just kept putting it off because, ironically, I didn’t want to offend people. And that’s what this podcast episode is about; easily offended people. But I feel like some of you need to hear this.
Now, I’m going to speak about this topic as someone who used to be so easily offended. You could look at me the wrong way and I would take it as an insult and I would be so upset with myself and with you. I was very easily offended.
And now, I’m someone who it’s actually super-hard for you to offend me. I was reminded about how far I’ve come when it comes to being offended, when I was on vacation with my dear friend Brooke and her family and my daughter. And we love to play games. It’s so much fun.
But if you’re someone that’s easily offended, you cannot play games with us, especially her family because they’re super-competitive. I get a little nervous sometimes when I’m on the team with her son and we lose because he is so passionate about winning.
He’ll say things like, “Are you stupid? How could you have done that?” And I just laugh. I’m like, “Yeah, I am sometimes a little bit stupid.” But I’m just so proud of myself, at how far I’ve come. Because literally, it takes a lot to offend me. But I know for some of you, you are easily offended. Or maybe you’re dealing with someone who is easily offended.
So, I want to talk about this with a lot of grace and a lot of compassion, again, as someone who has been there, who has been someone who is easily offended. So, I looked up the definition of offend. What does it mean to offend? And here’s what Merriam Webster says.
It means to transgress the moral or divine wall, to violate a law or a rule, to do wrong, to cause difficulty, discomfort, or injury, to cause dislike, anger, or vexation. So, when I go back into time and I think about those years that I was easily offended, what was really happening is that I had all of these rules for how I thought other people should be and what they should do, and how they should live their lives.
And when they didn’t live up to my expectations, I would be offended. And I think about, on a deeper level, what was really going on was I felt out of control and I felt the world was out of control. So, I needed to control everyone. And if you didn’t live up to my rules and to my expectations then I would use that as a reason to cause harm to myself. I would be so upset. I would be so angry. I would be so hurt.
But here’s the thing. That other person, they were just fine. I was doing the harm to myself. I was offending myself by being easily offended. But at the time, I remember just feeling this moral superiority; as my grandmother would say, being on a spiritual high horse and thinking I knew better, I knew how people should behave, how they should eat, how they should dress, how they should run their business, how they should raise their children, how they should live their lives.
And if they didn’t live up to my expectations, I would take offense. But again, it was only harming me. And so, I have, over the years, just done the work of letting people be who they are and not outsourcing my emotional life, which I talk about in another episode, and expecting people to behave a certain way in order for me to feel good.
I will tell you, my life changed when I made how I feel my number one priority and I didn’t make anyone else responsible for that. And what I can tell you is that now it’s such an incredible way to be in the world. There’s a sense of ease. I’m not resisting and pushing up against the world, expecting it to be anything other than the way it is.
And right now, I think we can all agree, we’re living in a society and in a world where there are very strong opinions about how the world should be; politically, environmentally, socially. And I want us all to imagine, just for a moment, if we all agreed on everything, if we all thought the same way and we all held the same values and we all behaved the way we thought everybody should behave.
Is that really the kind of world we want to live in? There would be no contrast. There would be no texture. There would be no depth. But when I think about those years I was so easily offended, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to live in this utopia where everybody thought like me, believed like me, felt like me, walked through the world like me.
And now, I don’t want that. I want people to have the freedom to be who they are. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with them. It doesn’t mean that I have to condone certain behavior. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have boundaries. I just don’t have to be offended. I don’t have to walk through the world looking for things to be upset about.
So, I want to speak to those who are easily offended, and then those who find themselves being around people that are easily offended. And my goal here is to offer both of you some tools to help you navigate either yourself or the world.
Again, I’m speaking from someone who’s been easily offended, and now it takes a lot to offend me. And I would always encourage you to practice being in that latter category, for your sake, for your wellbeing.
So, for those of you who find yourself being easily offended, taking offense to how people are, to what they believe, to their values, I want you just to be curious as to why. What moral codes are you expecting the world to follow? And what is it costing you? How is it impacting your life?
As someone who’s been easily offended in the past, what I can tell you is that the impact that it had on my life is that I was constantly frustrated and angry and just mad at the world. That’s no way to live; not if you want to live a beautiful life.
And this doesn’t mean that you don’t have opinions. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have values. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have things that you strongly believe in. But when you expect the world to believe in it, when you expect everybody else to fit into your moral codes, how fair is that?
One of the beautiful things about being a human being is that you have a freedom in how you think and what you value. And I don’t ever want to take that away from anyone. I want everyone to be free to be who they are. And it may not align with how I want to be and how I want to live my life. But it doesn’t mean that I have to be offended.
Just by the nature of the work that I do and being as public as I am and sharing so openly about my philosophy and my loves, I’ve accepted that part of that is that I’m going to offend people. And it’s never intentional. And I don’t care how positive I try to keep things, how loving of a space I try to create, there are still some people that will be offended.
Now, here’s what I find really fascinating. Most of the offense that is taken is around my J’adore section of this podcast. And ironically, it’s what many of you tell me you love the most about the podcast. You love hearing about the things that I love. And there are some women who don’t agree with the things that I love. They have very strong opinions about these things.
So, just last week in my J’adore, I talked about a car that I went to drive that I truly fell in love with. If you didn’t listen to it, go back and check out last week’s episode. And I received a message from someone who was not in favor of my car choice. Even though at the time I had not bought it yet, she had a very strong opinion that I shouldn’t be buying this car and that I should buy a Tesla instead.
Totally respect her opinion. Totally didn’t offend me. But I couldn’t help but to notice that it seemed as if she were offended. Now, that is my interpretation. I could be totally wrong. She may not be offended at all. But just the way the message was written and the tone that I interpreted as was this woman was offended. And that’s okay.
But here’s what she didn’t know. Number one, I love to buy things that make me happy. And this car made me happy. I also know that I spent most of my life feeling like I was wrong, that I was making wrong choices, that I was never perfect enough, I was never doing enough for the environment, I was never doing enough for the community, and I certainly wasn’t doing enough for my family.
And I’m just done with that. You can think whatever you want to think about me, but I know my heart. And I know that I’m not always going to make perfect choices. And guess what, none of us are. And if we’re held to that standard and if we don’t live up to that standard and people are easily offended, then we have to be okay with offending people. And not doing it from a place of vitriol, but just doing it from a place of, “I can’t please the whole world. I’m going to make decisions that some people will not agree with, and that’s okay.”
And the other thing that this person probably doesn’t know about me is that I take a lot of long road trips. And the idea of buying an electric car just doesn’t make sense for me right now. To be out in the middle of nowhere trying to find somewhere to charge my car, it’s just not a safe choice for me.
But ironically, I leased the car because I do feel like, in the next two to three years, we’re going to see a big change in the automotive industry, and with technology improving and just all of the things that could happen, I may eventually purchase an electric car. It’s just not a good choice for me right now.
But here’s what I want to say. When you have high opinions, which I love, especially if they’re different from my own because I want to learn from you, I want to figure out what you know that I don’t know. I don’t want to ever be so closed-minded that I’m not open to different opinions.
However, the way you deliver that opinion is everything. You could say, “Hey, listen, I’m so excited that you’re thinking about getting a new car. Congratulations. I’m celebrating with you. Have you thought about an electric car? Here are the reasons why I think it’s a great choice. Now, I don’t know if it’s the best choice for you, but it’s something you may want to consider. Enjoy. I’m celebrating with you.”
Very different than “You’re wrong, you’re a terrible person. You’re destroying our environment. And you have offended me.” Can you all see the difference? I mean, which approach do you think someone’s going to be more likely to be open to listening to what you have to say?
And you all, this is what’s wrong with the world right now. Everybody is so highly opinionated and they’re not open to other opinions and they’re trying to shove their opinions on others. And I’m not at all saying that this is what this woman was doing. I didn’t feel that at all. I did feel like she was a little miffed that I was thinking about buying this car, which it just arrived today, by the way, and I’m so pleased with my decision.
But how do we expect to create a loving world, a productive world, a kind world, a respectful world if we’re so offended that we’re not open to other people’s opinions, that we just shut off and we put people in good or bad categories, right or wrong. You’re either with me or you’re against me.
What if there’s a beautiful in between? What if there’s this beautiful gray area where we can all coexist and have different opinions and still respect each other and offer each other a little grace, because we’re going to mess it up sometimes. We’re going to get it wrong. We’re going to fall from grace.
But what if instead of being offended when people do that, that we held the space for more empathy, more understanding, more compassion. Can you imagine what the world would be like right now if we did that?
But oftentimes, instead what we’re doing is we’re being so offended because people don’t think like us, believe like us, behave like us, that we just shut them off and we’re not open to that beautiful gray area where we can all come together with a sense of understanding so that we can truly make the world a better place and stop creating so much polarization in a world where, if you think about it, we all want to have beautiful lives.
We all want to raise our children in safe and healthy environments. And we all want to feel like we’re doing the best we can and we also know that we’ll never be perfect enough according to the world’s standards. And so, we all just want a little bit of grace. That’s what we really want.
And so, if you’re someone that’s easily offended, I just want you to notice how walking through the world looking for things to be upset about is making you upset. Because there are also many things you can look for that can cause you to feel joy and optimism and compassion and love. And honestly, you all, that’s what we need now more than ever.
So, for those of you who may find yourself being around easily offended people, let’s talk about that for a moment. I’ve already touched on it, but I want to talk about how to deal with that.
I have a really good friend who is very easily offended. Because sometimes, I am someone who jokes a lot because I don’t mind when people joke with me. For example, when my friend’s son is like, “Are you stupid?” I laugh. I’m like, “Yeah, sometimes I really am.”
And so, those are the kinds of people I love being around, where we can just joke, be a little sarcastic, have fun, and we know that no one’s going to take offense. But one of my other good friends, she is easily offended. And I found myself, for a while, walking on eggshells around her. And then I was like, this is dumb. I don’t want to do that. I just want to be able to be me.
But I also need to let her be her. Which means, she’s easily offended, and so for me I think the best way to navigate people that are easily offended is to, number one, to understand it has nothing to do with you.
If you’re just being you and someone is offended, that usually has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. But the way to deal with that is – I mean, you can just contradict them and say things like, “Don’t be ridiculous. I can’t believe that offended you.” And that’s not really a great option. I don’t recommend that.
Or you can just write the person off and be like, “I’m done hanging out with you. I’m just going to let you go.” And when I think about my friend, I love her. I don’t want to just write her off. You can make it mean something about you and you can feel really bad about yourself. I don’t recommend that either.
Here’s what I do recommend. I recommend that you have an open conversation with this person and you just say, “You know what, I can tell that what I said or how I showed up didn’t land well with you. Let’s talk about it. What did you make that mean? How did you interpret that situation? What am I not understanding here?”
And that will open up so that you can figure out the thoughts in that person’s head that’s causing them to be offended. And then, you can offer your side. You can offer where you’re coming from. You can offer how you’re thinking about the situation.
And the goal here is not to win anyone over, to think like you, to believe like you. It’s just to create a really beautiful space where two humans can come together with the intention of understanding each other.
Now, the other person may not have that intention, and that’s okay. It only takes one. It only takes one person to come into a situation and really being open to learning and listening. And then to be very thankful for the conversation.
I think we can all agree that it seems as if we’re living in a very polarized world. We’re “Either you’re for me or you’re against me.” We’re, “Either you’re good or you’re bad.” You’re either right or you’re wrong. And that’s the energy that creates this offensiveness.
And what you don’t want to do, if you’re around easily offended people, is to start being offended by their offensiveness. You just want to leave space for understanding and for communication and for the allowance of the human experience. Which is we all have opinions. We all have ways that we want to live our lives. We all have values. But when you try to force those down other people’s throats or you think the world should think and believe and live like you, that’s when you cause problems for yourself.
And then, on the flipside, when you just write off people that are easily offended, and in a sense, you’ve become that person. You have a way you think they should be. And so, I just find for myself personally, just to have space and compassion for all of it.
You know, for the woman who took the time to reach out to me and share her opinion about my car selection and encouraging me to look into an electric car, listen, I love you, truly, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion with me and I value it. I’m truly grateful for people like you who care for our environment, who want to make the world a better place.
And I bought a car and I had a reason for the car that I did choose. And I hope that you can hold space for my values and my opinions and know sometimes we’re going to mess up. Sometimes, I’m going to make a choice that may not be environmentally friendly. That doesn’t mean I’m against the environment. It just means I’m human and I’m imperfect.
And yes, I hope to get better year after year. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your opinion with me. Thank you for showing me a different perspective. It is something that I will think about for future car purchases. And right now, I feel really good about the one that I made. And I hope that you can respect that too.
That’s how we navigate being easily offended and dealing with easily offended people. Again, I’ve been on both sides, my friends. And even now, every once in a while, I can get offended. I think it’s part of being a human. But I think we need to look within ourselves. And we need to be more compassionate with our fellow humans. That’s how we’re going to overcome a lot of the problems that we’re currently facing. And it’s how we’re going to live more beautiful and fulfilling lives.
It is time for a J’adore, the part of the show where I get to share something I love with you. And today, we are talking about china. Not the country, but dinnerware.
I just purchased the most beautiful, simple, and elegant set of bone china. Now, I love bone china because it’s durable, it’s microwave safe, it’s dishwasher safe, oven safe, it’s stackable, it’s chip resistant, and it’s beautiful. The one that I bought is pure white.
And I love the simplicity of the round plates, the size of them, the weight of them. I love the cereal bowl that comes with it as well as the soup bowl, and even the coffee mugs. It truly is, I think, the perfect set of dinnerware for those of you who love a simple and elegant style.
Now, I have a couple of sets of fine china that I love to use on certain occasions. But this set of china I can use for every day, or I can dress it up. It’s like the LBD, the little black dress. You can do many different things with it.
For example, I could just put a simple placemat down with this white china and a nice glass and my regular silverware. And it’s just a casual dinner. But I can dress it up in so many different ways.
I can pop a gold charger underneath to add that little pop of glam. I can add my Waterford crystal glasses that has a little gold rim around it to the table. I can add a pop of color with the flowers that I choose. I even just purchased a set of black silverware, so you can imagine a black and white themed table.
And that’s why I love basic pieces, even when it comes to your dinnerware. Basic white porcelain, you can do so much with it. You can create so many different looks on your table.
So, if you’re wanting to update your dinnerware wardrobe, head over to frenchkisslife.com/micasa. Have a beautiful week, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you in the next episode.
If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss Lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The Three Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs, by visiting frenchkisslife.com/mindset. Because, after all, mindset is the new black.