Let’s face it. We live in a world where people don’t know how to defend themselves anymore.
I don’t know if it’s our technology-rich lifestyles that have kept us so connected we’re actually becoming further distanced from reality as a society. Whatever the case may be, modern-day civilization would rather call out “trigger warnings” or have people retreat to a “safe-space” before simply calling someone out about whatever’s offended them. Another problem that arises is the fact that as modern liberalism evolves, the list of (what used to be considered acceptable) societal practices has dwindled as people get easier and easier to offend. I once got chastised by a University student for saying the phrase “raped by taxes,” and the slang definition of the word, in the context I used it in, is actually in the dictionary!
The sad thing is, people don’t realize that this trend of favoring fragile and sensitive social behaviors abandons perseverance (which is essential to human survival) and personal liberty. The more we make it okay to restrict words and non-violent, but simply unfavorable behaviors, the closer freedom gets personally policed into extinction. On top of that, people learn nothing being this way. It’s important to be taken out of your comfort zone to learn through new experiences. You would’ve never learned how to drive if you didn’t teach yourself through lessons. How do you expect to actually be able to handle antagonization from someone, the first time you aren’t protected by people who know what a safe-space is? Do you really want to keep yourself in such a fragile state that you become unable to withstand any adverse situation? They’re going to happen with or without trigger warnings and safe-spaces. That’s the reality of life. The good news is, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
I know everyone’s not as strong as I consider myself. While I was well-known in grade school, I did get picked on a lot as a teen. And for no other reason than the fact I openly identified as a homosexual. It was lame, but helped me learn how to navigate the inescapable ugliness of humanity. I honestly wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t endured those soul-crushing walks from one period to another, where I might get a plethora of random homophobic slurs thrown at me at any given moment. I needed to have those experiences. I needed to get my feelings hurt. I needed to go home and cry to my mother about how I failed to understand why so much unwarranted hate was thrown my way from people I never even personally spoke to. I needed to find love for myself through their hate and to ultimately learn how to stand up for myself. There’s a reason a whole campaign exists that’s dedicated to inspiring LGBT through the shared and recorded recollection of experiences where adversity is overcome.
And it’s true. Life does eventually get better — for everyone. But I don’t see how it’ll ever progress if people go into hiding every time they’re exposed to something they don’t like. It’s not okay to expect everyone around you to confirm to lifestyle practices they might not personally favor or want to adhere to. That not only makes you overly complicated, annoying and weak-minded, but it also makes you a downer to be around. I get it. I was blessed with a caring, nurturing mother who told me to love myself, that everything would be okay, and I understand that not everyone might have access to that. But if you at least have friends, an available parent, a school counselor, access to a therapist, or even a help-line to call — you can (and most likely will) overcome any transgression life throws your way. It’s the act of evolving with the growth, strength and perseverance life gives you through earned wisdom. I promise that favoring the benefits of this achieved wisdom will take you everywhere in life a safe space would otherwise restrict. You’ll also naturally have more fun than all of those people who are too busy being offended by everything.