Monday, January 14, 2013

"You're so Sheltered"

Warning: This is Not a very Sunshine-y post, but this to me is an important topic and I post it in hopes that people can be challenged to open their mind a little more about... people.

For those who know me, I'm generally a peaceable person. I try pretty hard to hold a nonjudgmental perspective about people and be open to possible reasons behind somebody's actions. If something rude or hurtful is said, most of the time I let it go- not too shabbily, and I try to see where the statement might be coming from and move on. Nonetheless, there have been several specific phrases that has continually given me an enormously difficult time handling.

They are: "You're (so) sheltered" and "You're so innocent."

I got told that recently by somebody who I sat down and talked to for the first time. In the past when others have said it I had let it go, but no longer can I let it pass by any longer.

Possibly every time someone says that to me, from within, every piece of me boils.

I argue that your best friend would never say such a thing. That is because it negates all of the experiences that one has struggled through to create the person who he or she is today. That statement implies that one received so many blessings that aren't deserved (such as happiness) or weren't possibly worked for. Those statements cement the ignorance of the person who assumes to know the life of the person who he or she is talking about. This isn't to pity myself. I am not saying that you're reading the blog of a Holocaust survivor, but I think that you would not want to step into my shoes, as I would not dare to ignorantly assume that your shoes are so much greater or easier to walk in. Every person has faced a trial, every person has shed tears of pain and suffered deep inside. Nobody is immune to trials and pain but I do love how we (most of us) are able to have agency of how to react to it.  

What possibly makes somebody innocent, or sheltered, these two meaning protected from pain, suffering, evil etc, (as I get the gist)? For those who say that phrase to people, perhaps they got told that themselves. I ask, taking an example of myself, is somebody "sheltered" because they have Christian beliefs and choose to live a life that strives to be like Christ? Is it because they don't know something that you do? Is it because somebody chooses to stay clean even while knowing about "all the different things somebody can indulge in?" Is somebody sheltered or "innocent" (implied as ignorant) because they look happy all of the time?

For whatever reason somebody thinks they have the right to say this to somebody, I cannot think of a more honest and frank reply than "and you are ignorant." It makes me feel so sad to hear someone being called sheltered or innocent, because although people can say that many people who smile and laugh often are "innocent" or "sheltered", I can literally see past tears that has given them an opportunity to grow that beautiful smile, even without having to disclosing the story.

I love being a counselor where I can know for myself what young children struggle with, further confirming my idea that nobody is "sheltered." Next time you assume that somebody has lived a "sheltered" or "innocent" life please think twice of the potential of your words. Your words can do both good and bad.

Innocence is not ignorance. I try to be innocent, not ignorant.


P.S. I promise the next post will be about food. It'll be up soon with a brighter feel in the blog :)


  1. I was moved by your article, and really enjoyed it, I can't really describe how strongly this topic resonates with me. I have also been told that I'm sheltered in the past; and I've found that when people say that to you... It's a good thing for you. What it means is that in your daily life you steer so clear from those kinds of pernicious and most repugnant sins that people THINK you know nothing about them. But there's a deeper point about the accuser, generally I find people who make statements like that, if they are "active" members of the church, then they have not truly forsaken their sins, and in a sense they wear their "dirty past" as a badge of honour, claiming they have more exposure to "life", but the truly penitent are ashamed about past sins, especially horrible ones, and strive to repent and move on. In a sense when people call you naieve, it is a statement of "self-wickedness" 

  2. Thank you for sharing Shawn! I enjoyed hearing your perspective of it and can't help but completely understand what you say. I've also thought of other reasons that people may say it and in the end I agree with you, it's a good thing for people to be told that, isn't it?

    I love reading your comments and thoughts, they're always so intelligent and wise. I wish Chadsen and I could babysit your adorable little girl, if only we lived in Australia!