Who Cares! Just ride your bike!
Rolling up to the trailhead, do you jump on your bike and set off for a fun-filled adventure. Or, do you look around and notice that there are no orange bikes in the parking lot, become very offended and conclude that there must be a problem with people boycotting orange bikes.
If you are looking for problems, you find problems.
People spend a lot of time and effort looking for whose fault something is, even when there isn’t one, or when it doesn’t matter. Whether it’s someone picking a fight in a relationship, or a person who seeks ways to flex their “social justice warrior” muscles, in most cases, these people’s actions are based largely on ego gratification and little on actual good will or constructive communication.
Wanting someone to agree with you isn’t necessary for having a good conversation or a good time, but many people can’t handle an inch of disagreement—they’re deeply offended. Insofar as people even expect others to also respond to them in a particular manner, and if they don’t, they have a serious meltdown. Get over yourself. Part of freedom of expression is that some people are going to piss you off or offend you sometimes. Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right. That’s part of life.
Society has become so defensive that people can’t say anything. When did we become so sensitive? Being offended is a choice—it’s the difference between getting upset or simply brushing it off and carrying on. It’s the difference between thinking of a spiteful comeback and simply acknowledging that the other person has different values than you do, and deciding, who the hell cares!
Impossible to please
Today’s culture has a fierce desire to want to change people’s behaviour. I think it’s good to make a stand against violence, crimes, and the like—that makes sense. And wanting to live in a more inclusive society would be great, but don’t create problems where there aren’t any. We say we want increased acceptance and understanding, but people have actually become less tolerant of opposing opinions these days.
The tribal nature of humans means we have a tendency to position ourselves as part of a group that’s against some other group. Within this tribe, we establish biases and preferences, and then make ourselves some fancy tribe t-shirts that justify our superiority.
Why let yourself be concerned with what others are doing or saying? Does it really matter if the majority of guys riding bikes wear lumberjack shirts? Or for that matter, that there are more men than women riding bikes? Should it concern you that the family next door all ride e-bikes and get to do twice as many laps of your favourite trail? (Gasp!) Does it really make a huge impact on your life that there’s a trail name that offends you? No. None of this matters. Nor are these people doing it to spite or exclude you. All that matters is what you’re doing. So chill out and stop focusing on others.
Unless you want to be Gladys Kravitz and stick your nose in everyone’s business, just get on your bike, focus on being a good person, and roll on! Reducing needless division over the countless disagreements is fairly simple, rather than provoking others to argue with you; or even worse, distorting their words or intentions, mind your own business, and focus on living your own life the way you want, without needing approval or understanding.
If you let yourself become offended by every little thing, or take on the offense for other people—who may or may not be offended—you will have a miserable life. You’ll train your brain to focus on negativity. Just focus on what makes you happy. Ride your bike!