It happens all the time. On social media. At work. At school. In the store. People simply rub us the wrong way, purposefully or not. Not being invited to a certain gathering or event-or our friend not calling us to check in because they are “busy”. Scenarios like this can leave us open to getting offended. We walk around pressed wondering “how dare they!?” Usually how it goes, is the closer the person is to us, the easier it is to get offended, but we also get equally offended by peers, coworkers, or by casual encounters with people in our everyday lives.
One of the things I’ve been working on in the last year or so is teaching myself how to not get offended. And not with the “I don’t care attitude” undermining my choice-but to genuinely extend grace and understanding to the parties involved in the situation, and let it be without the remnants of bitterness.
First off, everything is a choice and this includes being offended. Just like we hear that we choose to be happy, well hey we choose to get offended as well. One of the situations that can position us to be offended is when something is said about us or said to us directly. In these cases one thing that has helped me choose not to find this as an offense is understanding that sometimes people say things because they don’t feel so good about themselves. This however doesn’t mean you go around talking about their insecurities and use it as an excuse to gossip. But to talk about you, or what they don’t like about you, or your tendencies can actually be insight to their own insecurities. And to be frank-that is not your issue. That is a personal issue that the person needs to deal with and by me or you getting offended-that is no resolution to the matter but a set up for bitterness to fester within ourselves.
Another way we get offended is when someone hurts us or uses us-so basically not by their words but by their actions. Now in this instance you can also consider something similar to what is stated above. Hurt people, hurt people. Many times we have to extend grace to people in order not to get offended. Sometimes people are miserable and they truly want company in their misery. So they may do (say) something to drag you through the dirt with them. You have a choice in how you respond. We can fight fire with fire or make the choice to not become offended, and carry on. Of course, we may feel the right to get offended-but it doesn’t mean it will solve the issue or be the best response. Keep in mind choosing not to get offended is more for your benefit then their own-those people are still going to walk with their issues, but you however are learning how to not let that affect you.
There are times when people will not even know they have potentially offended us. This is the time when we really have to consider saying something so it won’t happen again. The fact that it wasn’t intentional, the person may not want you to feel offended-so why not clear the air. In the other instances however, people who offend most likely don’t care if they offend you, perhaps maybe even want to. So using your energy in this kind of battle becomes hopeless and senseless.
In all these cases, it is most helpful to consider the nature of humans. Our nature is to be selfish. It is to deflect our insecurities unto others. Our nature is to speak without thinking, we have this thing about us that we think-if we feel it, well heck it needs to be heard-that is our nature. Understand the nature we have to respond quickly, and anger quickly and not listen as much. It is our nature to apply our perspective to all. It is our nature to feel offended, however it is also our choice to seek understanding and balance.
Now, the most effective mechanism I have used to not get offended is looking at myself and having a true understanding of who I am. As a person, the more confident you are, the more definite you are about the identity you hold, the easier it is to excuse those who may offend you. Why? Because you know who you are. Who are they to change your mood or your perspective on yourself, when you know yourself best? When you are confident in your abilities, your appearance-you embrace your flaws, and you are aware of your weaknesses and know you are working on them, the less offended you will become. If someone talks about my acne, that’s okay with me because I find myself with beauty beyond compare. When someone pokes fun at my mothering abilities, I don’t second guess myself and my motherhood because I know me-I know I’m trying my best. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I recite that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Once you know who you are, the things other might do to you or say about you become irrelevant to your life and your identity. In either event-getting offended is ultimately a choice. Choose wisely.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense”