October 30, 2008
Many of us are really easy to offend. We get offended by what people say, things on TV, opposing political opinions (especially these days), noise, music, traffic, weather, our family, different view points, and so much more. Most of us are convinced that we are right and that people who don’t see it our way are wrong, or at least “misguided.
While I often aspire to be as open minded, accepting, and easy-going as possible, the truth is that I can get as easily offended as anyone I know. Many of my opinions about life, others, and “the way things should be” are incredibly self-righteous. Can you relate?
However, what if we became really hard to offend. This is not to say that we abandon our values or opinions, it’s more about choosing to allow other people and things be as they are. We take so many things personally that have nothing to do with us. The more we react to something, the less freedom and peace we have. When I get really “triggered” by someone or something, if I make it all about the other person or the thing I’m focusing on, I usually miss the real gift, the lesson, and the point (i.e. the shadow or mirror that this negative thing is showing me about myself and life).
Here are a few things we can do to become harder to offend:
- Remember that it’s not all about you. Even though it may seem like someone is being rude to us or something is happening directly to us, most of the time the things we take personally or get offended by have little or nothing to do with us.
- Have compassion for others. While we don’t have to simply allow people treat us poorly or let them walk all over us, if we can have compassion for them instead of assuming they’re out to get us, it makes life more peaceful all the way around. Often when other people act in a way we find “offensive,” they are having a difficult time themselves.
- Right or happy, you choose? As my friend and mentor Richard Carlson used to say, “In life, you have a choice – you can be right or you can be happy, not both.” What a great reminder. When we’re obsessed, as many of us are (myself included), about being right all the time – we are easily offended. When we let go of our need to be right, we have the space to be happy, peaceful, and joyful.
Today and the rest of this week – I challenge you to be really hard to offend. See what happens, how it feels, and the impact it has on you and those around you. While it can be challenging at first, it will make a big difference in the quality of your life.