If You Feel Offended, Maybe You Should Be

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There are many pros and cons to running a blog like this. Thankfully, there are mostly pros, but every now and then we are reminded that any time general criticism is focused in a specific direction, some people are going to be offended.

Many of my articles criticize men, because I am a man. I am part of the statement when a woman complains about “all men,” or “how men act.” The words that accompany this statement are affected by both good men, and bad men. Unfortunately, human nature is to complain more than it is to praise (if you don’t believe this, just visit any page on Yelp and read the reviews).

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So, what we find typically is dissatisfaction with the modern man. We struggle to find our place in the world. We struggle to find meaning. We struggle to make friends. We struggle to find jobs and therefore self-fulfillment. But we also often struggle to make the ‘right’ choices when it comes to how we approach and treat others – particularly women.

I am not here to tell anyone what to do or how to live their life. I am here to write down my opinions based on my experiences and how am striving to live my life. Some of that results in articles like ‘15 Signs You’re With A Good Man‘ or ‘How To: Compliment Women Without Being A Creep‘ which are often met with resistance…from, you guessed it, men. If you read an article with these titles and become offended, maybe it is because you don’t put in enough effort to meet the things that ‘good men’ do. Or maybe you do do the things that creep women out. And then you turn into one of those men…

Men who have clearly come on to my website for the first time and have drawn a conclusion from one article. Men who actually leave comments throughout the site complaining about the woman who wrote the article…

The woman who wrote the article? Apparently the million and a half places that my name and face appear on this website do not make it clear enough that I am a man, and yes I am criticizing men.

Yes, it is possible for a man to criticize other men. In fact, I don’t think it happens enough. I am criticizing men because nobody is holding us accountable. Nobody is holding us to standards of conduct. We are too distracted by the idea of accepting everyone the way they are to even notice how many people have just stopped trying because of it.

I am criticizing men because we can do better.

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They leave comments like “What about women? Shouldn’t women do this too?” And by doing so they telegraph their complete lack of effort to do a little scrolling and understand that I have plenty of articles speaking about how I feel ‘good women’ do and don’t act as well. Such as this and this.

But this isn’t about me nor is it about defending my position. As they say, the best way to start an argument on the internet is to express an opinion, and then wait.

What this is about is the dodging of real issues by people who fall into the categories we are trying to discuss. If you comment on an article about how men can be better and all you ask is why women aren’t being criticized also, you are part of the problem.

You are part of the problem because you are refusing to admit your own shortcomings, which we all have – probably myself more than most, and all you want to know is why you are the only one being ‘attacked,’ when in reality that is not the case at all.

The question we need to start asking if we read a general article directed at no particular person, instead of ‘who else is being criticized?’ should be ‘why does this offend me?’ What is it about the article that makes it sting a little bit? Instead of dodging the issue like you are Neo in The Matrix, let’s examine the issue at hand and do a little bit of introspection.

Have these words made us realize some of our own shortcomings and things we need to work on? Have they made us understand areas of our lives we need to improve upon? I know that writing has helped me learn probably even more than it has helped me ‘teach.’ But, the only reason for that is because I have been open to it – and I look in the mirror before I point a finger back at the person who is making me do it.

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So, let us work to become better, not to avoid the core issues. Let us take advantage of the countless opportunities living in this time of history has made available to us to improve ourselves. And let us accept positive, constructive criticism without being offended by it.

Because if you are offended, maybe you should be.

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9 Comments

  1. William Karam Kassab on October 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Reblogged this on William Karam Kassab.

  2. Rayna on October 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I am a recent follower of your blog. Yes, I am female. Why do I read with delight, each word that you write? It gives me hope. I have always truly believed in my Irish grandmother’s adage: “if you knew better, you would do better”. I feel that this blog highlights all of the wonderful ways men could be amazing. Simple modifications or adoptions will enrich your experiences with women. I believe the world sends mixed messages and that it must be very challenging to be a man, in today’s day and age. Common courtesy is anything but common, this fact makes me sad. What does please me is the rare unicorn, who must be reading this blog, who seizes the moment to improve himself and end up me rewarded generously for the effort. I was in a line up to grab a coffee and a very pleasant man, who had be standing behind me, said; “I hope you will accept my compliment…I have been standing behind you for the last few minutes and I just have to tell you have beautiful hair”. Wow, I actually blushed and beamed a huge smile and said “thank you”. He made my day. When it was my turn to pay for my coffee, the gentlemen behind me was distracted so I paid for his “red-eye”. The little things make a huge difference. As you poor men know, women notice everything. If there is a groundswell of men acting like gentlemen, you will all benefit; trust me. 

  3. Sabrina on October 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I’m not a believer of the whole Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus club. Men and women alike want to be appreciated and considered. If we all just remembered to be kind to each other, life would be so much easier. Thanks for posting this.

  4. ViewPacific on October 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I’m with Sabrina, whether we are men or women, let’s be kind and loving with each other.
    Rayna set a great example with her kindness given and received.
    James, I’m a new follower and applaud your work. If you hear criticism, it means you’re getting close! Keep up the good work!
    Vincent

  5. ashantininja on October 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I think youre amazing and I agree with what you say because you cause me.to reflect on myself and try to improve. It’s not about making excuses it’s about striving to be better. Peace.

  6. Levin Kiester on October 31, 2014 at 3:41 am

    I hope men readers will be inspired and challenged instead of anything-negative. At the same time, I hope us, women, will do the same thing.

  7. Dana on October 31, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I have been reading your artiles for a few months now and I want to thank you for your insight. I am glad to see a man hold himself to a standard and share his thoughts to other men. I do believe in chilvary. I am disillusioned by todays dating challenges.

  8. derp on November 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    its stupid articles like these that tell men and women how to behave better that makes them resent each other.

    • mvirelas on November 17, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Derp, to put what James said bluntly…since you just don’t get it when it’s said tactfully…it’s immature people like you who would rather keep pointing the blame elsewhere than work on improving themselves as people that keep people from progressing together.

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