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Have We Gone Too Far in Trying to Avoid Offending Others?

Have We Gone Too Far in Trying to Avoid Offending Others?

Recently I attempted to place a social media advertisement that included a picture of someone’s hand holding a tape measure.  I intended it to point interested people to a blog post I wrote.  The post was filled with encouragement for how to stick with New Year’s goals.  Much to my surprise, my ad was rejected for generating a negative self-perception in order to promote a healthier lifestyle.  My title was positive and clearly said I was providing a strategy for success.  Nevertheless, ads that show pictures of scales and tape measures are now deemed inappropriate with the potential of offending others.

My Initial Reaction to Accusations

My immediate reaction to being accused of offending others was to feel hurt and treated unfairly.  I wondered if the advertisement judge had even looked at my post.  I couldn’t believe that this was such a hot issue that they were going to pass on receiving my money to stick to this rule.  After I calmed down a bit, I contemplated why such a rule would exist in the first place.  Why does our country need to be on the constant lookout for evidence of potentially offending behavior?

The reality of our world is that there are a lot of nasty people in it.  We have bullies of all ages and have young people committing suicide due to the cruelty of others.  We have people withdrawing from the world due to health issues and personal appearance.

As a nurse and a member of the healthcare community, I would never willingly engage in behavior that would hurt someone.  In fact, the Nightingale Pledge includes a statement about being devoted to the welfare of those under our care.  So, my decision to show a tape measure was not meant to harm or offend anyone.  Yet, here I was being both accused of something and rejected.

Have We Gone Too Far?

Just as much as I don’t want to intentionally hurt someone, I also know that there are times when we must endure pain in order to find healing.  Nurses give injections (which hurt) in order to provide medications that treat medical problems.  Patients may need to endure the temporary pain of a needle prick in order to cure a disease or experience relief of a symptom.

Sometimes children start hanging with the wrong crowd and end up in a heap of trouble with drugs and the law.  We can certainly tell them we love them and offer our help.  But we can’t let them rob us blind, cause daily chaos in our lives, and continue a destructive lifestyle.  That’s not helping them at all, that’s just feeding the problem.

In our efforts to protect everyone from the slightest bit of feeling offending, we have now created all kinds of rules.  Exclusive minority groups can exist and are encouraged.  But if you are part of the majority group, you better not even think about creating an exclusive group or you’ll be accused of inappropriate behavior.  College professors are expected to always give the student the benefit of the doubt.  But if the professor deviates one inch from syllabus and college rules, he or she may find what the inside of a courtroom looks like.

Health Concerns of Avoiding Offending Others

There are real dangers with not saying what needs to be said.  And honestly, I wish that I had more people that were courageous in my life that spoke up and pushed me in the right direction.   Instead, I was often left wandering aimlessly, not knowing I had something that needed fixing.  In a sense, it was like having a splash of ketchup on my face that no one told me about.  I looked ridiculous and spent the day embarrassing myself instead of wiping off the darn ketchup.

Here are a few of the dangers I am speaking about that can happen because of wrongful silence.  I’m sure you could add a few of your own.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section after this post.

Dangers of Staying Silent

  1.  About to marry the wrong person & live a life filled with misery.
  2.  About to do something extremely dangerous & suffer trauma or death.
  3.  Overdose or under dose on medication and suffer bad consequences.
  4.  Eat poorly everyday & end up with heart disease, obesity or more.
  5.  Rarely or never Exercise and suffer from weakness and immobility problems.
  6.  Not getting enough sleep & become moody, exhausted, and difficult to live with.
  7.  Exhibit signs of depression or anxiety and miss many joys of life.
  8. Never learned when to keep your mouth shut & self-sabotage on a regular basis.
  9. Never take a chance & live a life locked inside a box of fear.
  10. Bury all your problems & never experience the true freedom you were meant to have.

My Recommendations Going Forward

I don’t believe in whining about something without coming up with a plan of how you’re going to deal with it going forward.  Most situations come down to one of three options.  You can do nothing, do more, or do less.  Each situation is unique, so you’ll have to decide which of three options is best when the time comes.  In general, when it comes to nationwide trends banning things that offend, here are my two cents.

  1. Do Nothing.

    There are going to be times when doing what we normally do means we risk offending someone.  But that doesn’t mean we need to change anything.  I’ve told students that they were at risk for failing a college course I was teaching.  They didn’t like hearing that.  They may have felt offended.  However, the most compassionate thing I could ever do for a failing student is to give them fair warning when there is still time to fix it.  In these cases, and many others like them, we need to continue doing the right thing, even if someone feels offended by our actions.

  2. Do More.

    We probably all know someone who is super sensitive and often feels hurt.  If we know this about someone, the right was to handle this is to go out of your way just a little to lessen his or her pain.  An example would be giving someone heads up that something is coming.  Even 15 minutes warning can give someone like this time to prepare.

  3. Do Less.

    Although I hate to admit this, my zealous personality has offended others during the course of my life.  I know I have caused people to feel they don’t measure up or are lazy.  Whether those things are true or not is irrelevant.  I don’t have the right to judge someone and put him ore her down, unless I am responsible for him or her.  But even if I do have a legitimate reason for providing someone feedback, it should always be constructive not destructive.


In summary, let’s consider my tape measure advertisement that was banned.  I have three options of how to respond.  I could choose to fight the battle and confront the company who made that decision.  My second option is to I do nothing, forget about it, and just move on.  Or I can see if there is any lesson for me to learn through the situation and adjust my actions accordingly

In my opinion, this is not a big enough issue to warrant going to the top of the food chain and causing a disturbance.  So, if I’m not willing to fight for what I consider fair treatment, there is no point in contacting them at all.  However, the situation did rattle me enough that I wrote a blog post about it.  So, choosing to do nothing seems a little inadequate.  I choose option #3.

In the future, I will change my advertising to be less offensive so that I can reach people in a way that society now requires.  However, don’t for a second think I’m giving in to the madness.  I will never be quiet if someone is about to jump off a bridge, to take the wrong medications or to ignore a serious issue.  Why?  Because I’m a Registered Nurse, I care about people, and I will inflict temporary pain (even if you are offended) when needed for your own good.

I'm a nurse, I care about people, and I will inflict temporary pain when needed for your own good. Click To Tweet

Reflection Questions:

  1.  Do you tend to be the offended or the one offending others in most situations?
  2. Can you think of a recent example where you had to decide how to respond to an accusation?
  3. Do you think we’re doing the right thing as a society in avoiding offense or have we gone too far?

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Have you Heard about the FlyLady and the Super Fling Boogie?

Have you Heard about the FlyLady and the Super Fling Boogie?

I used to have a heck of time getting housework done and keeping my home organized.  That all changed when I found out about the FlyLady back in the year 2001.  My main problem was that I had no real plan and was easily distracted by more exciting things.  My lack of organization and clear goals left many things undone each day.  The FlyLady and her online resources changed the way I look at household duties and my new perspective changed my life.  Read on for more about FlyLady, the top 5 ways that she helped me and learn all about my all-time favorite recommendation, the Super Fling Boogie!

FlyLadyJeff Hopper/ Unsplash.com

Who/What is FlyLady?

FlyLady is both a person and a support group that offers housekeeping help to people in need.  Even if you’re not the primary housekeeper in your home, there are things that you can learn from the FlyLady.  According to her Wikipedia page, Marla Cilley was the founder of the FlyLady group.  While the name originally came from Marla’s interest in fly-fishing, it was later given a backronym of Finally Loving Yourself.

In 2001, Marla published her website, Flylady.net.  Her website is filled with helpful resources to help anyone get their home organized, eliminate clutter, and get your home clean.  A neat, clean, well-organized home also comes with health benefits including decreased stress levels, and an improved sense of well-being.

Although I have known about the FlyLady and the group’s resources for about 15 years now, a recent review of her website has shown me how much she has kept up with the changing times.  Marla also offers videos, helpful tips on her social media channels, virtual mentoring services, a premium app, and a subscription based reminder system just to name the highlights.  She also has many wonderful products available for purchase in her online store.  I encourage you to check out her website to get a look for yourself.

1. Consider Work in the Home as Part of your Career

The very first thing I learned from the FlyLady was that I couldn’t treat housework like something I do when I feel like it or have extra time.  It’s going to be very difficult to meet the goals you have for your home if you take care of things sporadically.  We all need a concrete plan in order to achieve success.

Once I came to grips with this reality, I gave myself work hours at home.  Most of us start jobs outside the home at a designated time.  If you punch a clock and are late too many times, there will be consequences.  While I didn’t start to punch a clock or record my hours worked, I did make a conscious effort to start my work at home day at 9am.  I then tackled my designated jobs until they were completed or it was time for a lunch break.  I was quickly amazed at how much I was getting accomplished during a week.

It was only for a short season of my life that I was a full-time stay-at-home-mom, but it was during that time that I learned to be disciplined with housework.  Because of that learning time, I have adopted many helpful practices over the years.  Now, most of the time, I feel like I have achieved success.  It doesn’t matter if I’m doing everything during night and weekends, during weekdays, or delegating jobs to others who can help.  With a clear plan and an attitude that housework is a part of my career, success happens!

2. Morning, Afternoon & Evening Routines

Routines may sound restrictive; however, they are actually more freeing than you might have thought.  Routines reduce how much thinking and preparing you have to do each day, week, or month.  And they can be adapted for any lifestyle.  I know I’ve had to change my routines based on my work schedule and the schedules of my family members from time to time.  And you never have to worry about getting a visit from the routine police of having to pay a fine for failing to stick with your routine!

One example from my own life is laundry day.  I warn family members the night before that they should make sure anything they need washed is in their hamper.  Then I start by sorting first thing in the morning and getting the first load started.  I continue until done, folding as I go.  Usually before dinner, everyone has a clean pile of clothes in their room.  If possible, I make it a point to finish on the same day.  No one should be caught without clean clothes when they need them.  Routines are certainly a good stress reducing technique for everyone!

3. Working on Zones

FlyLady has divided the typical home into 5 zones.  Each of the 5 zones is focused on for several days to a full week each month.  You can easily follow along with the zones posted on the website for each day/week.  The zone sections include the following:

  1.  Entrance/Front Porch/ Dining Room.
  2.  Kitchen/ Back Porch/ Laundry Room/ Pantry.
  3.  Main Bathroom/ Extra Bedrooms/ Kids Rooms/ Craft Rooms.
  4.  Master Bedroom/ bath/ closet.
  5.  Living Room/ Den/ TV Room.

4. Detailed Cleaning Lists

The first step in dealing with a cleaning zone is to remove the clutter.  You can’t really clean something with stuff all over it.  Sometimes clutter involves things that haven’t been put away, sometimes its having more than you need or use.  And then we have things like mail that needs a decision and procrastination often sets in too quickly, leaving yet another pile in its tracks.

But once the clutter has been dealt with, we can still be easily overwhelmed with an entire room filled with nooks and crannies, shelves, counters and more.  FlyLady once again helps remove the need to think about what to do, by offering up free detailed cleaning lists.  Her lists cover every room mentioned in her zones.  If you can a room that she did not include, you can use her list as a template and easily make your own.  Each list includes approximately 8-20 specific items that need to be tackled.  Here’s a sample of the Zone 5 detailed cleaning list for you to check out!

5. Doing the Super Fling Boogie

And now for my favorite Flylady activity, doing the Super Fling Boogie!  It’s actually a game where the goal is to remove clutter from your home.  As with most games, there are rules to follow.  FlyLady has 3 basic rules for this game.  First, you need to set a timer for 15 minutes, so you don’t get carried away or burn out with this.  Second, you have to take the bag or box of clutter out of the house to your car.  Third, you get to post the pounds of clutter you have removed on the Super Fling Boogie Pound Meter!  WooHoo, yes you get to count pounds of clutter removed, I love it!

There are additional guidelines on the website that I encourage you to review in more detail.  But one more thing I would like to add is that when flinging, you’re going to do one of three basic things.  You’ll throw away, put away, or give away!  This activity takes mundane work and makes it fun.  Not to mention, that you add the pounds of clutter removed to the pound meter!  This week we had to replace a broken washer and dryer and they were removed from the property.  I wonder how many pounds that was.

Reflection Questions

Now it’s your turn.

  1.  Do you have an organized cleaning plan to follow?  If not, click on the FlyLady link below and check out the website.
  2.  What area of housekeeping do you or your significant other need the most help with today?
  3.  Is there someone you could share this information with that would appreciate these tips?  Do it now!



Super Fling Boogie – FlyLady

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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