On Offensiveness

That we might say the exact same words and phrases to two different people and receive a different reaction proves that offense is taken, not given. One of the teachings of Stoicism is that each of us are responsible for our reactions to the events that surround us. How we interpret the behavior or speech of others is up to us, not them. Even violent behavior is subjectively interpreted one way or another. If what I say or what I do offends you, that is your problem, not mine. To take offense believing it’s given is to allow others control over you that they really don’t have. It is to enslave yourself to them. I tell my children daily that when they get upset over their siblings words or behavior, they are allowing their sibling to control them. I want them to understand their reaction for what it really is, a subjective interpretation. I think one day they’ll get it. I think one day I’ll get it. And that’s today’s two cents.


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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.