I thought Canadians had the reputation of being inclusive and easy going, but it seems that our new official hobby is "being offended." One must make a concerted effort to not offend another's sensibilities, whether it be the sale of black pumpkins, installing Christmas lights before November 11th, or simply parking your car over a yellow line. Were we always offended by such things, or is a podium for "likes" and comments on social media too tempting to ignore? We seem determined to subject people to public shaming as if this will somehow improve our quality of life, or the world we live in. Somehow we feel justified to put a restaurant out of business because the service was slow that night, or it simply couldn't accommodate our dietary choices. We are quick to throw out accusations of discrimination when really the restaurant would not be economically viable if it was forced to meet everyone's needs. Becoming more educated about our differences should result in increasing tolerance for diversity, yet, it seems to have the opposite effect. While the advent of social media has given us a broader view of the world, it has also served to promote division among people and a constant need to have our opinions validated by complete strangers, at the expense of others. It makes us feel worthy, it makes us feel heard. If others do not submit to our beliefs, our desires, and expectations, we are offended and feel left out, as if disrespected and ignored. If you want to make the world a better place, give back something other than criticism. Volunteer, help a neighbour, help a senior. Being offended is a choice, an unproductive and negative contribution to the collective human psyche. Tolerance and understanding requires a fraction of the energy that intolerance does. It is also not toxic and harmful. The next time you feel offended, realize that you are not the only one who matters. The universe caters to your specific needs each and every day by simply allowing you to wake up on this side of the grass.