In sixth grade, I came home on Valentine’s Day with only a handful of cards. This was long before the day where class lists were circulated to ensure everyone brought a card for everyone. Depleted, I felt as if my whole class hated me and I had no friends – I felt offended. Looking back, I think I was affected so dramatically because I was so incredibly shy and insecure. My self-esteem was no different than a typical awkward pre-teen only I figured I was alone in how I felt.

Self-consciousness and inadequacy led me to analyze my interactions with other people. I took so much of what someone would say or do personally as if it were some kind of direct attack. My insecurities led to victimized angst and self-pity over perceived offenses.

Whether it’s self-inflicted or deliberate, we’ve all been offended to some degree or another.  A car cuts us off causing a near fatal accident, a rude store clerk embarrasses you, a friend betrays a trust, or a relative mindlessly insults or criticizes you. On a more serious level, there are those who have been physically or mentally abused by another, and the pain is horrific and unimaginable.

Those feelings of anger, frustration, resentment, and pain can poison our attitude, outlook, and hope. The idea of not taking offense, forgiving, and giving second chances destroy our victim mentality. When we remain the victim we feel entitled to snap at the clumsy waiter, be impatient with the person in front of you, and criticize the anyone trying to help.

Yes, what happened might have been the worst thing you can imagine.  But how often do we allow the offense to control how we act and feel? Maybe we are one to let those feelings simmer and stew poisoning us from the inside out.  Or are we the type to obsess about the offense over and over like a moth circling a light? However we react, the choice is always ours.

“Life appears too short to be spent nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” —Charlotte Brontë Click To Tweet

I know it’s possible to let go and move on because of examples all around us. For instance, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00XWCZ3UA’ text=’Elizabeth Smart’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’choosin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8d7d797f-7895-11e7-bbfc-59c2007fd05d’] and [amazon_textlink asin=’1609071271′ text=’Chris Williams’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’choosin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’72922523-7895-11e7-a0dd-29c128641c05′] each chose to react to life changing events in a way very different from the world. We are led to believe that we should be offended, we deserve revenge or justice. But really, whose voice would tell us to continue to poison our emotional, physical, and spiritual self?

I know.  Stopping is much easier to say than do.  Stick with me on this one because, in part 2 of this series, I’ll share seven ways I’ve come up with to replace your resentment with a healthier and happier way of thinking. It does require some work, but over time as these become habits, your burdens can become lighter.

Until next time,

Lori

How do you deal with being offended?

Stop Being Offended! is part of the Choices for Change Series.


References:
Brontë, Charlotte. Retrieved from Goodreads (2017).
I’m a wife, mother, friend, and storyteller. I have a love for learning, giggling with my grandson and tandem biking with my husband. I believe wisdom goes beyond being smart or having basic knowledge. It is the culmination of experiences that help us become. While each of our challenges may be unique, we have the opportunity to choose how we will react, learn and grow. My journey has taught me that I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a voice to share what I’ve learned. Life can either teach us or defeat us – the choice is ours.
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16 thoughts on “Stop Being Offended! The Choice is Yours – Part One”

  1. I enjoyed your post, but … sometimes it’s difficult to know when to stand up for oneself, and when to let it go. If someone says something to me that is hurtful, don’t I have an obligation to our relationship to let them know they have hurt me with their remarks?

    1. Absolutely! But you can do so in a kind and non-offensive way. And once you’ve told them you don’t have to hold on to the offense. Really great point to make! I’m personally one to hold it all in and let it build until I’m the problem is destroying me on the inside. This is where the real problem lies. Thanks for the great comment!

  2. Thinking about those who have forgiven in the face of great adversity is inspiring. Scripture stories are filled with people who forgive (and who don’t) and the consequences of peace from forgiving.

    1. I absolutely agree! Just like any kind of thought process – we have to train our brain to know how to react. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I tend to not get offended, I try to think through my emotions and why I’m having them before I lash out on someone else. This is a really great post, i can’t wait to read part 2!

  4. I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series! I have gotten a lot better about harboring resentment and being offended, but I you’re right that it’s hard to do! What I teach my therapy patients is that MOST of the time, your anger is actually an easier feeling to deal with than whatever your true feeling about a situation is– usually guilt, shame, fear, etc. I think offense works the same way.

    1. Identifying and understanding our feelings and how they contribute to our emotions is the first step. I’m so glad you enjoyed! See you tomorrow for part 2!

    1. So easy to overanalyze what the ones we love the most might say to us. How do you avoid taking offense from something your husband might offer as constructive criticism?

    1. Does it make you dizzy? 🙂 I think all of the circling leads me to believe something might change if I come at it from a different direction. The reality is, we can only change our way of thinking about the offense. Learning to let go can be so freeing compared to the circling! Thanks for reading!

  5. You are so right! We have a choice and it’s important to remember that. You have to know your worth for other people to know it. It’s hard…but we are all worthy of love and respect

    1. Our worth is a huge factor! When we believe in who we are and understand our worth it is empowering against the offenses waiting to be taken! Great insight!

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