Ever been called a snowflake? In 2016, Collins English Dictionary added the term “snowflake generation,” defining it as
“the young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offense than previous generations.”
The term snowflake has become a go-to insult whenever someone vocalizes that something is offensive. But let’s be honest: we are all snowflakes. Taking offense is a human—and often healthy—response to what makes the hair rise on the backs of our necks.
The funny (and complicated) thing is,…
…what I find offensive might delight you. And vice versa.
After the J. Lo/Shakira Super Bowl halftime show, I opened social media and saw the following reports:
Empowering for young girls and women everywhere…
A couple of strippers and even a pole dance. Where’s the outrage?
Finally a halftime show representing the sexy Latina culture!
So much for wholesome family entertainment!
This halftime show is the biggest loss for Father Time. Don’t know if he’ll ever recover from this.
Beginning to pole humping, ass slapping, ass shaking end. If that’s the requirements for a half-time show, none of the rock bands I know can or will do that…
Best Super Bowl halftime show ever.
My son just humped a hole into our sectional couch. I hope you’re happy.
If I had an ass like [J. Lo] I wouldn’t wear clothes, either!
How is it that perfectly nice people—who call themselves my friends—could be so divided on any issue, especially one as non-life-changing as a half-time show!?
The rub lies in how we respond when we are offended—which judging by something as simple as a Super Bowl half-time show, could be often. Why? We are all snowflakes of sorts.
Do you ever stew about what someone has said, scripting the possible responses in your head, losing hours of time and tuning out your family or colleagues in the process?
Do say ever something on social media, only to wish you could retract it later when you see the responses—not only because it made you feel icky, but it left people responding to you like you had horns sprouting from your head?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you (we) could speak out about (and listen to) what is necessary, while spreading inclusiveness instead of divisiveness in how it’s done?
Snowflakes exist in every generation, gender, and political party. You are one of them, and so am I. If you have found yourself offended, here are 3 tips to getting along in a world of snowflakes:
3 Tips to Getting Along in a World of Snowflakes
1. Shut it off.
Sometimes protecting our inner snowflake is just as easy as not engaging in things that trigger us to react. If you see a performance, show, or movie that offends you, shut it off. Walk out. Don’t engage in it. I frequently do this with “news” stories when the headline alone is something that makes me sick. Instead of reading the entire article and then being upset all day by what I read, I don’t engage.
If you don’t like alcohol, don’t frequent places where alcohol will be served. If you don’t like faux news, don’t watch any network containing what you consider faux news. If you don’t agree with where your company is heading, start looking elsewhere. If you believe that meat is murder, do not eat meat.
2. Step it up.
The halftime show offered an easy, shut-it-off solution: if you liked it, watch it again on YouTube; if you didn’t like it, change the channel. But not everything can (or should) be avoided. In cases like that, you might need to step it up.
Our political process makes for a great example. Like it or not, the United States is in an election cycle seems endless. Like it or not, your eyes will see campaign signs and slogans, and you won’t be able to access any news without a heavy dose of politics leading each news cycle. If you have strong opinions about who should represent your city, state, or federal government, step up your involvement campaigning and supporting the candidate you can get behind.
Social media posts don’t change behaviors. Step it up means giving of your skills, time, passion, and energy to actively engage in a cause you do support instead of only attacking all the people and things you do NOT support.
There is a time to speak out—either against a cause or wrong doing. If you do speak out as part of your stepping it up, consider going to the audience that can make a difference and doing it in a way that fosters action and awareness of not only the problem—but solutions. Consider how to be inclusive even while you may feel divisive.
3. Shut it up.
When possible, change the channel. When not possible, get involved. When all else fails, do something my sweet mother used to tell me as part of her catechism for turning complaining into adulating: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”
These words are much easier to say than to practice. But I’ve found that when I suppress the urge to complain about someone or something, my frustration often soon subsides. When we utter a complaint, the thought fills our minds. Those thoughts turn to word pictures. Those words get formed in our mouths. As the words come out, they enter our own ears. We think, see, say, and hear the complaint, making it exponentially more emotion-producing than if we had let it go as a mere thought and hadn’t acted upon it. Sometimes, the person we want to speak against is a dear friend who we love above all else, and being right takes a back seat to accepting others’ good intentions.
A Final Word
You will have endless opportunities to offend and be offended today. To my fellow snowflakes, let me offer one final word on the subject: when possible, don’t. Instead, tune it out, do something to make a difference, or learn how to find peace in the quiet.