Which premise is true?
BOTH. I think as usual, when we try to make something black or white in order to make it easier to understand the “rules”, we risk missing out on important nuances that can make a big difference.
While you can’t control how other people respond to you or what you say, that does not mean that you should adopt an attitude of, “Well, that’s your problem if you were offended by X, Y, or Z. I didn’t mean it that way, or it’s just my opinion, so it’s your problem.
Each person is going to hear you through their own filters, beliefs and experiences--and that will affect how they interpret what you say. So, it is not entirely your responsibility if they become upset by something. And what our ego really wants to know is that it's not all your fault. (so quell your impulse to become defensive, which just throws a wrench into anything you’re trying to communicate)
HOWEVER, what you still have a responsibility to do is to have mindful speaking and conscious communication. What do I mean by that?
So, you have a right to express yourself, but you should do so with a mindful awareness of others at the same time. It is possible to respect both yourself and others simultaneously! Respect that you have feelings, experiences, and opinions that come from a valid place and may be expressed. Also respect that others have different feelings, experiences, and opinions that are just as valid.
NOTE: This is about expressing emotions about things. That is not the same thing as sharing information, which can be factual or nonfactual. This is another aspect of communication that we all have a responsibility to understand. We must care about and seek the TRUTH, and make every effort to adhere to truth when sharing information, regardless of how we feel about it.
Lastly, I think it’s important that we all acknowledge that this entire process is not simple, and it’s not always easy. We are not perfect and we WILL make mistakes. We will accidentally hurt people. We will say things that we thought were factual, only to discover they were not. Perhaps we will even discover that we shared things that we thought were facts only to discover within ourselves that they were expressions of our emotions and not facts! Wow! But if we create a culture of mutual compassion and understanding, even these missteps and misspeaks will be safe, as we will all know that we are making the effort to be empathetic.
Empathy does not require perfection. It does require effort.
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