Can What Seems Like An Insult, Set You Free?

keys to freedomI want to add to my last two posts because I don’t think I’m being understood. I’ll use a story (about myself) as an example…something old timers around here might remember.

Back when I was in my late twenties, I was feeling pretty good about myself, over all. Having started out homeless at fifteen years old, I had made it in the world. Worked my way up until I was making a salary in line with the top 5% for women in the era.

I was out one night and this man said, “Elsa. You’re nothin’ but a mother looking for kids.”

I was floored by his comment. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to feel…if I was upset, coming or going.

I didn’t know if I was being insulted, diminished…or merely informed.

I covered my confusion, I think. But I was haunted by his comment because…what if he was right? I had no children at the time.

Fast forward five years, I was having my second baby. It’s obvious to me now, I am a natural mother. Born for it.

So let’s think back…

If that man said that to me in this era, someone very well might have jumped in and said, “Hey! Don’t say that to Elsa! That’s not nice. Blah, blah, blah. She’s fine the way she is…”

They may as well be saying, Hey! Don’t let Elsa learn anything. Don’t let her grow at all. Don’t pressure her. Don’t make her question herself and her direction in life. Leave her blinders on!

It scares the hell out of me to think of this.  People defending my right to remain ignorant, basically. Because had it happened that way, I am not at all sure I would have evolved into my authentic self.  Especially in this era when up is down, left is right and such.

So this is what I am getting at with these last posts. If someone (figuratively) smacks the shit out of you, because that’s certainly what it felt like to me at the time, you might want to ask yourself if what they really did is hand you your keys to freedom.

Liberation of the true self is so important, judging the message or the messenger as “harsh”, doesn’t even factor in my mind.  Did you or did you not, figure it out? At least you had the opportunity!

For the record, all that guy did was share an observation.  He could get crucified for what he said, if he tried to say it today to a, uh…modern woman. 🙂

47 thoughts on “Can What Seems Like An Insult, Set You Free?”

  1. anonymoushermit

    “For the record, all that guy did was share an observation.”

    Oh, I see. So he wasn’t trying to insult you.

    1. Yes, but you can’t share observations these days, without risks as mentioned in the previous post. Consequently people have a much harder time finding their way, even if they’re more comfortable, which would also be debatable.

      It’s like living in a bubble. “Don’t shatter this.”

  2. On a travel blog/forum people are discussing whether the blogger is dressed appropriately for first class when he is wearing shorts and a baggy tshirt with advertising, like a promo handout.

    People want the reality to be, dress how you like and no one will judge. Other people say, it looks terrible and it’s not a bbq.

    I mean, if it’s not illegal of course you can dress sloppily. But if you also think that no one will judge you or think you don’t quite belong there, they absolutely can do it. You are free not to care, but to be incensed that a person could have a lower opinion of you? Arguing that a person can’t have a differing opinion? It’s gotten CRAZY. People can think what they want!! And yes, you might learn from it!

    1. This is about dictating another person’s thoughts or opinions. It’s possible with a some people but an insane quest for many others.

      My point here is people will no longer tell you anything because of the blowback. If you have someone who will speak to you, honestly, you’re fortunate.

  3. I agree. Why should a person get burned trying to essentially help you?

    Learn the hard way, be my guest!

  4. I get what you’re saying elsa. When you told me something the other day on the forum here it really got me thinking. Of course it’s hard to look at your own situation. But I know that there might be an easier or better way! I think it’s wise for me though to look at the source and intention of the comment. I’ve been told all kinds of things by “trusted adults” that were actually meant to undermine and harm me to keep their illusions safe. I’m thinking that there might be others like me too that have a hard time trusting. Anyway, thanks for your opinions. Like I said on that one I like hearing others ideas even if they are hard to hear. Chances are if they trigger something kind of emotional reaction they are worth exploring.

    1. Just to clarify I’m not putting you elsa in any category. I do believe you are a kind person who truly wants to help people live honestly and authentically which is why I’m willing to listen to you. Some people do not have my best interests at heart though. Luckily I’m pretty good at deciphering which is which. More than anything I want to live honestly and I naturally gravitate towards people that don’t find delusion very comfortable.

      1. Honestly, I don’t think the person has to even have your best interests at heart. That idea is is more of the current mind/speech control.

        Did the man who made the comment to me have my best interest at heart? Who knows? Who cares?

        The important thing is, he had clarity and he shared it with me. THANK GOD.

        Matter of fact, someone suggested to me that guy WAS God. He was an agent of God, letting me know I was on the wrong path.

        Hopefully you see my point. “Nice” and “Caring” are just that. They are nice and caring. But they are irrelevant when weighed against receiving information that guides you off the wrong path, on to something better.

        It just doesn’t matter how you find out – it’s that you find out that matters. And my point in this is that people who can tell you (not you personally, but generally speaking) can’t or won’t because of the risks. So people just stay in their…well, like me staying, perennially 27 years old because no one wants to offend me.

        If you realize what this can cost you, you’d be begging to be offended. Again, I am speaking generally, not to you, specifically, Libra.

        1. That makes total sense. Thanks:)
          My recent prayers have been to hear gods voice from every person I encounter. The universe does work like this.

  5. Well I can’t take it. Need more evolving. Someone told me something devastating and it kick started my transit and I’ve been doing nothing but obsessing about it and begging people to refute it

    My brother honestly thinks I’m overweight and in the same breath told me to love myself .

    People have honestly thought I was interested in women which Turned out to be true, but I’m not interested in a relationship with one.

  6. I had an elderly Sadge women tell me once that I didn’t have much of a life. I was shocked, a little perplexed as well. If I tell people about my life they want to be me so I’m not sure which feedback is accurate.

  7. I’d also add…I have a policy not to say anything unless a person is asking. But 9 times out of 10, these days, I don’t say a word, even when they are asking. Again, this is because of the risks or in some cases, due to the fruitlessness of conversing with some people, even the tiniest bit.

    Keep in mind, I am called for my ideas and opinions on a daily basis. Some people really run with what you give them. It’s amazing. You give them a key and you don’t hear from them again for a year. Then they contact you again…the key worked, do I have another.

    Yes, I do. Of course I have another key.

  8. I think there’s an aspect of synchronicity also when something random flies out of the air and lands in a way so that you wake up and pay attention.

    It used to happen to me a lot more when I was younger and lived in larger cities, I miss it. A fragment of conversation on the subway, a person on the street commenting on how you stand or dress in a way that nudges you to be more aware of something. Or just blurting out something kind of interesting and it’s almost like your mantra for the day.

    I’m not talking about hurling insults or hurtful comments, because a lot of people do that as their MO to knock people off balance or feel more powerful.

    1. I live in a large city and totally hate that experience they usually don’t have anything encouraging to say and I think I’ll never get laid again here

  9. I understand what you mean, I actually wish people would give me more comments like you describe. The thing is, I’ve developed a thick skin over the years and I can take it, and when I’m on the wrong course I’d rather someone knock me over the head with realization-spurring straight talk than suffer in the haze of not knowing.

    It takes guts to be the person who does that though and it’s definitely not in vogue.

  10. its beginning to feel scarily like losing intelligence. I think it has a lot to do with technology. You really have to stay calm operating iPhones and all the at your finger tip boxes everyone seems to have. It really is disturbing.

  11. Hi Elsa,
    I agree with everything that you said, something like this happened to me thirty years ago and I have never forgotten it. I was at work and a co-worker said to me, “you are one of the most cynical people I have ever met.” I was shocked and I felt like she had smacked me in the face. I had no idea how to respond, but I really thought about it. I came to the conclusion after some time that she was right. I decided I needed to change. It was one of those life changing moments.

      1. Exactly. And what do we do when our machines aren’t compliant…we get angry. With a machine communication becomes robotic. The cultural implications of mindless use of them is huge. Play nice and it all be smooth sailing. Keep your head in the ICloud and something big is lost in the translation. A loss of quickening edge.

  12. I love this whole topic because I can identify with it so well. I often get frustrated with peoples general avoidance of honest presentation. Those whom are offended by direct honesty are usually lying to themselves and trying to maintain some sort of facade that supports the presentation they have created, the picture they want people to accept. Like a picture perfect home with a structure eaten up by termites ready to collapse at any moment. The same people whom would rush to defend you if someone handed you a dose of direct honesty, but their defense is not so much of protecting you as it really is more about creating an environment where it is unacceptable to challenge the presentation. They don’t want anyone leaning on a termite infested structure, they want people to accept the picture they are presenting at face value alone.

  13. Avatar

    I think part of the problem is often the person telling you a tough truth about yourself is a condescending asshole who wants to hurt you, not help you. It’s hard to see the potential value of what he or she is saying in that situation.

  14. Avatar

    But I agree if there’s something crucial you need to find out about yourself in order to move forward, the intention of the messenger is irrelevant, it’s getting the message that matters.

  15. I agree w you, Elsa.I think only the very old or bold or TV gurus on PBS seem to have the last licenses to speak. None of us do anymore, except perhaps here! There is blowback. So you are brave. Friends ask for advice all the time:as of Jan 1, I no longer give it. “I need money, do you think I should find a job?” i say Nothing! Lol.

    At work even…..what are we doing wrong that makes us lose money? That holds us back?Ideas? …nope. say nothing. Those who speak of even tiny ideas are treated like they insulted the Universe. Give out all the meaningless blue ribbons and go.

    1. Here’s a question, often asked, but you best not answer: “Why can’t I find a mate?” Even if it’s OBVIOUS.

      “Captain Obvious”. Remember that? We’ve can’t acknowledge such things though they still exist.

  16. I think the subject has different levels and ranges of interpretation, so it’s hard for me to think in a straight line.
    Whether someone is commenting to genuinely help, or as a provocation, or as an indirect attack of some sort is sometimes difficult to decode.
    I see this post and the other two are intermingled, so are my comments.
    If the question is about today’s castrated mode of expression, then I’m not sure. There still seem to be people around who like to tell it like it is – according to them.
    But there are subjects that are more taboo than others. (And some people more dangerous than others)
    It seems to me that stating that a woman is made to have children is like trying to knock down an open door!!! It’s not an insult, but a biological truth. But it might be shocking to hear, or perhaps not politically correct these days. Like, natural or evident things are no longer accepted.
    I’m not sure if you’re trying to say that if this man hadn’t said what he did, you wouldn’t have had children. Maybe that would have happened anyway? How to know afterwards if he in fact set this in motion, or if you were simply ready to integrate the idea, with or without him? (And his insight, if it was insight, was correct.)
    As for people who suggest things “for your good” – hhhmmmm. If someone told you to dye your hair blonde, wear it in a bob, and wear right colors… would you think it over? I have agirfriend who’s been at this with me for years. I think : Jeez, forget about me, already. This girlfriend is unhappy with her own hair.
    Sorry, long and dispersed post. The subject is pretty rich!

  17. It occurs to me this also has to do with Saturn Neptune. Avoidance / denial of reality or any limits or controls, or wisdom of elders, etc.

    I remember being floored, seeing 4 year olds in political ads, telling me how I should vote.

    Yeah, right!

    But people seemed to accept this insanity. Yes, a pre-schooler knows what’s best for not just the country but the entire world. Qualifications are a “cute voice” far as I could see. 🙂

  18. I’m as sensitive as a person comes, riddled with insecure thoughts. My take away lesson and awareness is practicing to be comfortable in my own insecure self and rest there, not get hung up by what someone says that triggers my negative thoughts about myself. Trying something new for a change, cause I always will be insecure, its who I am really.

  19. This has happened to me twice. My college boyfriend told me I didn’t know how to have fun. I was so, so hurt. He was right – took a nervous breakdown and a good therapist in my late 20s to teach me that it’s not just ok to “play” – it’s vital. I didn’t ever get this message as a kid.

    Second time (right before the nervous breakdown) someone told me that I didn’t know how to get out of my own way. The person in question was trying to manipulate me to do something I didn’t want to at the time but it didn’t mean there wasn’t a grain of truth there, too.

    If something a) really offends me and b) really stays with me, generally the messenger is onto something.

    Great post!

  20. “You’re nothin’ but a mother looking for kids.”

    I am going to take a different tack here. What is a ‘Mom”?
    I think of Elsa as a ‘Mom’ and we all here are her ‘kids’. We are a ‘family’ who comes to the ‘matriarch’/’mom’/’wise woman’ for her wisdom and guidance, for the knowledge that she readily shares. Elsa states something and let’s us go hmmm? How does this apply in my/our life? She reminds me of a favorite aunt who could ask any question of and get real answers and let make own decisions with a new framework with which to use. Elsa is showing us that the road ahead has a lot of potholes and twists and turns but it also has a great view and places to visit if we slow down and notice.

    I know I would like to be sitting out on a porch sipping tea/lemonade and talking with Elsa on a consistent basis cos she comes across as a ‘mom'(wise woman no matter what the age) who has an open heart and would take you under her wing.

  21. However. Lots of people can have opinions about you. It doesn’t make them right. If you’re special many people feel they have an investment in making you listen to them. It makes them feel more special about themselves. I guess if it hits a chord then they probably have a point, especially if it’s someone you already respect. A family member or friend who knows your bones.
    I thought the comment was a bit over harsh. But anyway. If someone’s a bit unconfident then it can work the other way. It can split you in pieces trying to do the right thing according to what other people – especially those with big personalities – say you should do with your life. That’s the joy that comes with getting older. What’s that poem, when I am old I will wear purple. I’m not a mother and never will be, and more and more these days I am glad of that.

  22. Avatar

    Stargirl,same here. I knew from a young age I wanted nothing to do with raising children and am very glad I trusted my gut and didn’t have any.

  23. Someone told me about myself one time. He waited until after I had a minor outpatient procedure and was still somewhat goofy from anesthesia to ‘talk’ to me. I had had more than one failed relationship at that point. (with men) and he decided we would stop on the way home and eat, and talk about me. If I hadn’t been goofy from anesthesia this stop never would have happened. I still have no idea how or why ‘he’ was picking me up.

    He decided to tell me that he thought for certain I was batting for the wrong team. I wasn’t getting along with men so it must be because I was attracted to women. And, a lesbian.

    I don’t want to get off track but I do want to be clear before I go on. Half my friends are gay. I love them…..nuff said. Don’t even go there… I love my friends. So, anyway….

    But…. I am not gay. I have never been gay. I have never even had bisexual thoughts. My life may have been easier if I had been able to find even one woman attractive and found a way to have a relationship with her….but I am not gay. And, it could never happen. I have no idea what gave him the idea that I was having relationships with the wrong gender and just didn’t realize it.

    What he did do when he decided to lay his revelation on me….was completely fracture any sort of relationship we may have had in the future. This wasn’t because I wasn’t open to a suggestion or a new idea. It was because the asshole was my absent father and he proved at that moment he didn’t have one clue as to who I was.

    Not a Lesbian. A young woman who never had a man to measure other men by….causing a long journey of failed relationships … one after the next. And, most of it MY fault.

    So, this was a bad idea on his part. I thought he was a bigger idiot at that moment than I ever had before. According to him I didn’t have a clue about my sexual orientation…. and the real*real was he took off when I was 8 months old never bothering to think maybe had he been around (and of course a decent human being that led by example) I may have had an idea of what qualities to look for in a relationship whether it be heterosexual or homosexual.

    We haven’t spoken to each other since 2011. And, its doubtful we will ever talk again or that I will even know when he dies…and should I be informed …I wont be included in whatever ceremony takes place at that time. Because, I wont go.

    The flip side of this ….My crazy mother made me go to finishing school. I am not sure if anyone knows what finishing school is…and they probably don’t have them today. Its a school where you learn all things Emily Post….how to set a table, how to walk with a book on your head, how to apply makeup correctly… this school was a school that was supposed to change my ‘tomboy’ ways. Apparently I needed to learn etiquette. I was running around in a baseball cap, chewing double-bubble in cut off jean shorts and a white t-shirt. I wanted to climb a tree. My mother was mortified by this. So, she sent me to this school.

    I came out on the other side knowing how many knives and forks go on a table, and how to properly pluck my eyebrows and all such girly girly things…I’ve not had one occasion to set a table properly in my life to date. I do however have the manners and other stuff down… and I do use a lot of it.

    The day of graduation my favorite instructor came to tell me goodbye and ….NOT TO END UP BARE-FOOT AND PREGNANT. lol…. 2 years later I had a child and was on my own …. hahaha…. yeah, she saw it coming down the road like a freight train. I wasn’t offended by it but shocked as I had no intention of that ever happening to me (and I wish to God I had taken note of what she thought she saw) ….but 24 months later… BOOM. A Libra was born.

  24. When it’s true, it’s always jarring, isn’t it?
    My bff told me at 22 I’d have babies before her and that I was supposed to be a mother of a giant brood.
    She couldn’t have said anything more insane or outlandish to me at that time. It terrified me and all the same, I knew she was right but couldn’t face it.
    I ended up doing everything backwards and she was right about the first part.
    I had obstacles to accepting myself for most of my adult life and this slowed my ease with motherhood. It ended up turning out better than my wildest dreams and my child taught me how to raise myself as well. I couldn’t be more bursting with joy over the person my child came to be.

    I do get very down at this midlife crossroad as I now understand what I lost/what I missed due to ignorance or stubbornness.

    Additionally, I think you can say anything to a person if you can find the right words but maybe that isn’t the best approach? I work with young kids and I think we can reciprocate an un-self-conscious honesty with each other. They never let you forget who you are, good and bad.

    I know I will be defensive about certain statements but I secretly appreciate any chance I get to see through a different lens. Self-knowledge was very much denied to me growing up. Whatever I may have was hard won.

  25. Doesn’t all this have more to do with how the message is received by the person listening than about the person saying the message? If the message isn’t an insult or actively hurtful, if it’s just, as you say, Elsa, an observation, or a different perspective, then if it’s received negatively, in my mind that negative reception says more about the person receiving it than the person saying it. Some people would be really pleased to hear that someone else thinks they are a born mother, it’s important to some people. Others, not so much.

  26. I think the person was trying to tell you that you would be a wonderful mother. He obviously did not know how to express himself properly and probably is still doing that now in his life. Right now there are several commercials on tv that use double negatives. Many people do not know how show other support properly.

  27. When I was going through my Saturn return, a homeless man came up to me and asked menacingly, “Are you a woman, or just a big little girl?” I could have dismissed this as a random schizophrenic ranting, but it was a legitimate question. I don’t know what possessed him to ask me such a thing, but it sent me inward to answer that question. And at that point, I was indeed a “big little girl.” I hope he’s done well for himself in the meantime, but as society is, that’s probably not his outcome. I thank him for asking me that question in that moment.

  28. This is interesting to me for two reasons. One being that I have lost friendships over the years due to my honesty. I’ve learned that people don’t want to see the truth and would prefer to live their life wearing blinders. The last friendship I lost was over a guy my then friend was dating. It was the most toxic and turbulent relationship where she bad mouthed him, he cheated, blah blah blah. Then they got back together and I couldn’t accept him since she told me such horrid things about him. He is total scum, or at least that is the picture she chose to paint in order to gain sympathy/pity. She ended up blowing up on me about something completely random and called every name under the sun, insulted me – just did things to completely demolish the friendship. It was sad to me because it seemed like if I just shut my mouth we would still be “friends,” but are you really friends if you enable someone to make bad choices?

    Conversely, my husband and I have been having some challenges recently and he said to me that I can’t take criticism. I disagree with that statement because I openly accept constructive criticism if I feel it’s coming from a good place and not someone just trying to cut me down. I said to my husband that I feel like he is projecting because as soon as I criticize anything he immediately cuts me off and then begins to “defend himself” (as he says) and then it triggers a viscious cycle of two people claiming the exact same thing. We are trying to work on it but it is really the most difficult thing at the moment to just take a step back and not get defensive immediately.

  29. I find it hypocritical that you think”modern women” who would take offense to the assumption that they can be or want to be mothers would be “crucifying” this man if they expressed that. I thought the point was that everyone should state their observations. I find it really strange that you would contradict yourself this way specifically in reference to feminists. Geez louise

  30. Hmm. I think that his comment is a common put down to women in their late twenties who haven’t had children. You were “feeling pretty good about yourself”, making good money. He says “you’re nothing but..” Sounds to me like he was trying to put you in a box. Telling anyone “you’re nothing but ..” anything, is kind of condescending. A “mother looking for children” is often a nurturing, mothering person…. If he hadn’t said that to you I believe that you would have still had kids and found about more about yourself as you matured.
    I get that being challenged can be good for you too (on the other hand)
    I am 60yrs old and I think that motives and intentions behind comments are important – is it said in love? – look in their eyes, are they kindly. The guy may have been thinking what a sweet, nurturing person you were and that he could see that you would be a great mother. Or he may have seen that you were a happy, independent, successful woman and be threatened and think how dare you be that way and not be married with kids….. Never the less, you were never “nothing but..” 🙂

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