I’ve heard it said that happy people don’t give offense or take offense. Well, if that’s true, then it doesn’t seem like there are many happy people out there. Because it seems like every time I turn on the TV, scroll Facebook or read a blog, people seem to be giving offense to someone or something. Or taking offense to someone or something. At least that’s what it seems.
And “seems” seems to be the operative word. To seem means “to appear to be, feel, do, etc.” Seems is an appearance, an assumption, a projection of what is real. When something seems, whatever it is could be true or whatever it is could be false. Because it isn’t known, it only seems. Which leads me back to my initial statement: “It doesn’t seem like there are many happy people out there.”
Do I believe that? Or, because I’ve used the word “seems”, am I tipping my hand? Do I really believe that there are plenty of happy people out there? As many, if not more, than at any other time in history? Or do I believe that there are less happy people out there? Less happy people than at any other time in history? My use of the word “seems”, seems to indicate that I’m not quite convinced of the latter.
What, exactly, would tip the scales and prove that I don’t believe or that I do believe my previous statement about happy people? Removing the word “seems”. Without “seems”, my previous statement would read like this: “Well, if that’s true there aren’t many happy people out there.”
Without using the word “seems”, I’m communicating that I believe that there aren’t many happy people out there. The only doubt I’m expressing has nothing to do with happy people. I only question the validity of what I’ve heard: “Happy people don’t give offense or take offense.”
Why is this significant? Why am I spending all of this time perseverating over the word “seems”? Because we all do this, all the time. We all fall victim to appearances, assumptions or projections of what is real. Because what seems to be, fits into some box that we’ve created in our perspectives of people, life, faith, politics, relationships, etc.
Track with me on this. Using my example above, someone who believes that everyone is running around giving offense or taking offense, will also believe that there aren’t many happy people out there. For they have either personally experienced the unhappiness of others who are offending or being offended. Or, worse yet, they are currently experiencing unhappiness in their very own lives. Thus, they are offending or being offended themselves.
The opposite would be, someone who believes that not everyone is running around giving offense or taking offense. They believe that there are many happy people out there. For they have either experienced the happiness of others or, better yet, are currently experiencing happiness in their very own lives.
Whatever the case, the point is this: A person’s current reality will impact their perspectives of their current reality. Unhappy people will give offense and take offense much more readily than happy people. And unhappy people will believe that happy people are few and far between. And vice versa. Happy people will not give offense or take offense. And happy people will believe that unhappy people are few and far between.
I share all of this with you because, as a follower of Jesus, I want to be very aware of the perspectives that are impacting my current reality. I also want to shy away from “seems” statements. If I find myself having to state that something “seems” a certain way, because I don’t truly know; I want to get good and catching myself and cutting it off at the pass. Just because something seems a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a certain way.
If you have been offended by anything I have said, instead of being mad a me, ask yourself this question: What perspectives am I clinging to, that have caused me to be offended? If you’re happy with what I’ve said, instead of just clicking off of this blog and moving on with your life, ask yourself this question: How can I share my happiness with the world. Because it seems that not enough of us happy people are getting the word out. There I go again!