In part one we discussed some of the triggers for being offended and recognized how negative it can be to our well-being. As promised, I’m sharing seven ways of thinking to replace your resentment with healthier and happier habits. It does require some work, but over time your burdens will become lighter.
1. Don’t “Take” Offense
“Take” is defined as a voluntary action to grab, hold, or grip something. It goes back to choice. We can decide not to “take” offense. Let the opportunity to grab on to those feelings pass by you.
2. The Law of the Garbage Truck
This is an “It’s them not me” way of thinking. David Pollay considers some people to be like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, frustration, anger, and disappointment until they need somewhere to dump it. Sometimes it might be right on you. We may not have a choice in whether we are at the receiving end of these dump trucks, but we do have a choice in how we react. We can choose to smile, wave, and just move on.
3. Don’t Let Pride Cloud Your Perspective
Don’t allow your pride to burn bridges just because someone points out an imperfection. Sometimes we are the problem. Their delivery may be a little off, but what a friend says might be true. This often hurts the most because it is coming from someone we love. Listen to what is being said and chalk it up to constructive criticism. Let your love for the person overshadow your pride.
4. The Golden Rule
What about the times you offend someone? Just like the golden rule. We can react to others the way we would like to be reacted to. I feel grateful when someone graciously lets go of my careless comment or thoughtless remark. Having experienced both sides of an offense, wouldn’t you rather be the one who reacts in a kinder, more gentle way?
5. Don’t Let Others Define You
Seeking approval or acceptance from others is an unreliable foundation for building your worth. When we compare ourselves to others, we are viewing our weaknesses up against their strengths. Our self-worth should not be dependent on what someone thinks or says.
6. Forgive and Forget
The greatest example of forgiving is our Savior. As he hung on the cross he prayed saying: “forgive them for they know not what they do”(Luke 23: 34). The Atonement of Jesus Christ can help us avoid and triumph over offenses. Accept the past, journal about it if it helps, and then move on. Leave the burden at His feet and allow yourself to heal.
7. Do It For Your Health
The science behind harboring anger and resentment proves to be unhealthy on so many levels. Increased incidences of depression, unhappiness, and higher mortality rates are just a few of the side effects of refusing to let go of an offense and forgive. Surgeon, Dr. Dabney Ewin, sees burn patients in the ER who are enraged either with themselves or someone else because of their injuries. He says he knows a skin graft will take if the patient can abandon entitled feelings of revenge and justice. By letting those feelings go the body can focus on healing. The whole theory of in with the good and out with the bad really does help us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So, before heading out into that big, bad world filled with potentially thoughtless people, remember these seven ways of thinking. Life is about learning how we feel about ourselves, how we deal with others, and how we choose to react to them all. It is all within our control. Taking offense is one poison we don’t have to subject ourselves to anymore. Stop being offended and take control. The choice is yours!
Bednar, David A. “And Nothing Shall Offend Them.” Retrieved from lds.org (2017).
Pollay, David J. “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” Retrieved from YouTube (2017).
Chapman, E.H. Retrieved from Brainyquotes.com (2017).
Powers, Jason M.D., “Forgiveness is the Answer to Almost All Our Ills.” Retrieved from Psychology Today (2017).