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,
How do you deal with being offended?
Stop Being Offended! is part of the Choices for Change Series.