Those who are determined to be ‘offended’ will discover a provocation somewhere.
We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics,
and it is degrading to make the attempt.
There are some people who never seem to be offended by anything. While we are plagued with others who seem to be so sensitive that they are practically offended by the noise someone makes when they breathe.
Being easily offended is often caused either by setting unrealistic needs for perfection or from a fragile ego. This is excellent news! It means that we are the cause of of our feelings. We have the power to change our responses to any and everything.
Strategies for freeing ourselves from feeling offended:
1. Expect positive intentions from other people.
- Not everyone is a master wordsmith.
- There are some people always seem to have a knack of saying things the wrong manner.
- Until you are certain of someone els’s intention, make the guess that the potential offender had the best of intentions, but poor technique.
- Focus on the general theme of the comment.
- The assumptions we make about people and situations can cause all sorts of challenges.
- Do not start out by assuming the worst until you get the facts to back up your beliefs.
2. As unlikely as you may think… They might be right, and we may be wrong.
- None of us likes to be criticized, but we all deserve it sometimes.
- No one is perfect, or right all the time.
3. Check yourself- Ask yourself why are you feeling offended in the first place.
- What is the root cause?
- If we are offended that our friend is 20 minutes late, what is the true source of our frustration?
- Are we disturbed by the inconvenience?
- Or, are we annoyed that our friend does not value or respect our time?
- Or is it an ingrained belief that responsible people are timely, and you don’t like irresponsible people?
- We may be source of our own irritation.
- The more persuaded we are that things ought be a certain way, the more often we will be dissatisfied with people and with life.
4. Allow people to be themselves.
- No one gets up in the morning waiting for an opportunity to make us miserable.
- Each person is living their own life in their own way.
- Occasionally, our lives intersect, and the opportunity for someone to be happy or unhappy is present.
- Some people may be too brusque, shallow, or cheap for our tastes, but they may also not be terribly impressed with us.
- Give people the space they need to operate in their own way.
- We receive more acceptance if we are able to give more acceptance.
5. Make the choice to not be offended.
- We can choose our response to any situation.
- We do not have to become upset and stew when someone does or says something we do not like.
- We can choose to ignore the situation and move on.
- We also have the option of choosing to consider the action or comment from a different perspective than usual.
- The longer we nurse our negative feelings, the longer we will be hurting ourselves.
- Forgive others so that you can move forward with your life.
- Often, we are offended because we don’t like hearing the truth.
- Nobody likes being called fat, lazy, short, or impatient. But some of us are those things.
- We just do not enjoy being reminded of a harsh truth.
- We must learn to accept our lack of perfection and we will not be so easily offended when we hear things that may sting a bit.
8. Rock your self-esteem.
- Studies have shown that those most easily offended often have low levels of self-esteem.
- When we feel better about ourselves, we will not so easily be bothered by the words and behavior of other people.
9. Stop being super-sensitive.
- Come to grips with how much you are hurting yourself by being overly sensitive.
- If we are easily offended, we cannot be very happy in general. The two just won’t mix.
- When I realized how much my sensitivity was costing me, it made it easier to make changes.
- How has being offended cost you in the past?
If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.
The ability to appreciate and accept ourselves determines how easily we are offended by what others do or say. When we can accept our imperfections and those of others, it becomes much more difficult to be offended.
It is important to give ourselves and the other people we encounter along life’s journey the space to be themselves.