I was once told I was salty and caustic. I think the person meant it as a joking compliment. It’s become a joke with a friend of mine who repeats it back to me often, as an explanation for why someone is rude to me or ignores me.
You know, it’s because I’m salty and caustic.
The reality is that I am fluent in sarcasm, am not a touchy feely person, laugh in uncomfortable situations, and will share what I think 100x before I share what I feel. But on the other hand, I will go anywhere and do anything within my power for a friend, and show I care more than I say it. The person who called me salty and caustic really did know that.
I take being laughed at well, and will laugh along with you. I understand when you can’t do something that I really want or need help with. I respect differing views on politics and religion. I believe that if we always agreed, we’d not be being honest, and I like to talk with people who think differently than me. I cut people slack for bad behavior for any number of reasons. I see things or hear things that could offend me, but don’t take them that way.
Intent is everything to me.
Is what you’re saying intended to hurt me, mock me, or make me seem incompetent, that changes it all. If what you’re preaching, singing, shouting or laughing about is meant to push an agenda of fear, exploitation or intolerance, that changes it all.
But what I’ve learned, is that most of the people, most of the time, have no intention of doing either of those things. Most of the time, people have good hearts. Most of the time, people would rather be in physical pain, than know they’ve put you through emotional pain.
Sometimes, even when understanding people’s intent is not personal, it feels that way. Sometimes, people cross over lines that make it personal and painful. Lately, this seems to happen a lot for me. It’s hard to put those feelings aside, and carry on with the same respect for them.
Maybe you have those days. When things feel too close, too personal. Maybe you need this reminder too. Try, along with me, to not get so offended that you can’t see past your own beliefs and thoughts, to see what intent really is, and to not then cause truly offensive situations. Consider their heart, consider their intentions, and forgive. Even when they never ask for it.
It’s hard. It’s worth it.
“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” – Augusten Burroughs