Some people never seem to be offended by anything. Others are so sensitive that they’re practically offended by the way someone breathes. Being easily offended is often a caused by an unrealistic need for perfection or a fragile ego. That’s good news! It means that you’re the cause of your feelings. You have the power to change your responses.
Free yourself from feeling offended:
1. Assume positive intentions. Not everyone is a master wordsmith. Some people have a knack of saying things the wrong way. Until you’re certain, assume that the potential offender had the best of intentions, yet poor technique. Focus on the theme of the comment.
- Assumptions can cause all sorts of challenges. Avoid assuming the worst until you have facts to back up those beliefs.
2. Consider that they might be right. No one likes to be criticized, but we all deserve it at times. No one is perfect.
3. Ask yourself why you feel offended in the first place. What’s the cause? If you’re offended that your friend is 20 minutes late, what is the source of your frustration? Is it the inconvenience? The belief that your friend doesn’t respect your time? Your belief that responsible people are timely, and you don’t like irresponsible people?
- You may be the source of your own irritation. The more convinced you are that things should be a certain way, the more often you’ll be dissatisfied.
4. Allow others to be themselves. No one is roaming the Earth trying to make you miserable. Everyone is living their life in their own way. At times, our lives intersect, and the opportunity for someone to be unhappy is present. Some people may be too brusque, shallow, or cheap for your tastes, but they also might not be impressed with you.
- Give everyone the space they need to operate in their own way. You’ll receive more acceptance if you give more acceptance.
5. Choose not to be offended. You can choose your response to any situation. You don’t have to become upset and stew when someone does or says something you don’t like. You can choose to ignore the situation and move on. You can choose to consider the action or comment from a different perspective.
6. Be forgiving. The longer you hold onto negative feelings, the longer you’re hurting yourself. Forgive others so you can move forward with your life.
7. Accept yourself. Often times, we’re offended because we don’t like the truth. No one wants to be called fat, lazy, short, or impatient. But some of us are those things. We just don’t like to be reminded of the truth! Accept your lack of perfection and you won’t be so easily offended.
8. Build your self-esteem. Studies show that those most easily offended often have low levels of self-esteem. When you feel better about yourself, you won’t be so easily bothered by the words and behavior of others.
9. Realize how you’re hurting yourself by being overly sensitive. If you’re easily offended, you’re not very happy in general. It simply isn’t possible. When you realize how much your sensitivity is costing you, it will be easier to change. How has being offended cost you in the past?
An African proverb states, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.” The ability to appreciate and accept yourself determines how easily you’re offended. When you can accept your imperfections and those of others, it’s very difficult to be offended. It’s important to give yourself and others the space to be themselves.