Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Who likes insults anyway??

27 April 2016


Several years ago, I was insulted at work in relation to a project I was working on (alone). I realised that it was a deliberate attempt to provoke me. Under lots of stress I was still able to control myself as I realised that my principal would suffer from an emotional response. My loyalty to my principal was far greater than my deep anger towards my insulter. Later I was informed that the incident was part of a ploy against my principal. I delivered my project and the humiliation was theirs.

About a decade ago, I finally lost my temper at home and insulted my daughter. She never forgave me. Over the years, she forgot that my insult had been a response to her ongoing provocations and insults towards me. Today I cannot even remember her insults as they did not stick very long. Mine was deliberately mean. I wanted it to stick to her and I succeeded. Until today, it has sticked for some 7-8 years and I have not really spoken to her for the last 6 years. Am I proud of losing my temper? No. Am I sorry? Yes. Does it change anything? No.

The Turkish President does not like insults and who can blame him for that? Nobody likes insults, especially when they stick. I think his response is over the top but it’s consistent with the victim role he has been assuming since he got into Power. See my 18 February 2015 blog: “Victim role – politicians, bankers and corporate bosses”.

Based on the above, I think and feel that insults are delivered to provoke someone. Nevertheless, even insults may have a purpose. A purpose would be to “speak your mind” and to “clear the air“. Without a purpose, insults are just to ridicule someone for the sake of ridiculing. Some, if not most, of the insults to the Turkish President feel like ridicule to me: “unkind words or ​actions that make someone or something ​look ​stupid” (dictionary).

The freedom of speech is not meant for protecting ridicule. I think it would be a proportionate response if a judge would label ridicule as contempt. However, we don’t want free speech martyrs and thus imprisonment is out of the question. A monetary fine would be appropriate, depending on the nature of the ridicule. A confirmative verdict could already be an adequate victory.

The real problem with insults is that they sometimes stick. The worst insults are the ones that contain some truth in it. The mean ones. Like the one that I made to my daughter. I was able to hurt her that much as I was aware of her vulnerabilities. And that feels more like betrayal than an insult. As John le Carré once wrote: “Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love”.

Betrayal is an immense breach of trust. The famous Dutch liberal politician Thorbecke was once quoted saying: “Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback”. Repairing trust is like playing chess with the Horse: 2 steps forward, 1 step back. I need to be very careful with its alternative: 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Sometimes it’s better not to make a move forward when you are convinced that it will lead to 2 steps back.

We are mean to someone if and when we deliberately want to hurt the other person (in return). The subsequent revenge & retaliation cycle is never ever helpful in solving issues. Only forgiveness is. Forgiveness should not come easily, else its message is often misunderstood.

“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.” Quote by Al Capone

Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney – FourFiveSeconds (2015) – lyrics, video, Wiki

I think I’ve had enough

I might get a little drunk

I say what’s on my mind

I might do a little time

‘Cause all of my kindness

Is taken for weakness


Framework Posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest