I couldn’t help but feel offended that day. Affronted. I mean, why was I deserving of that mean comment, that slight, that oversight? What had I done to merit that lowly treatment? Who did she think she was? What did he believe he had going better than me? And to all that insulted me, I wanted nothing more than to lash out, fight back, hurt that One who had hurt me first.
We are later sitting at the table when my children start in with the subtle insults. Mean comments directed at one another which quickly escalate to more, hurting feelings. Drawing tears. And I am stunned for a moment, rising quickly to the occasion with a raised voice the very next minute.
How dare they.
What is it with us as human beings that we must hurt one another? And why do we let these offenses sting us so badly?
Reading Glennon Melton’s article about the secret to being liked, I discover that the way to combat something is with a dose of the same. Glennon says this about her secret:
“I really, really think the secret to being loved is to love. And the secret to being interesting is to be interested. And the secret to having a friend is being a friend.” – Glennon Melton
So then. The secret to NOT letting offense damage us, destroying us completely- must be to first learn not to offend. And then learn to not let offense ‘offend us’; for in choosing to see something for the good it offers, the power of offense to sting is lessened. And in accepting those who offend (the person- not the behaviour), I embrace the very ones who have been offended- seeing their pain along with their beauty. I am then enabled to respond with love and compassion, finding ways to lovingly understand rather than reactively respond. Because bottom line:
Offended people offend. Loving people love.
And I love this statement by Melody Fletcher:
“Here’s the thing: No one can offend you. Only you can allow yourself to get offended.”
So let it go. Latch onto the secret.
Choose love over offense.
This is a great piece! I rarely, if ever, get offended at anything. I think it people who become easily offended are looking for something that upsets them. It’s like they have some perpetual victim complex and real self-esteem issues. When people get offended at things that don’t affect them or their lives in any way, it’s hard to take such people seriously.
For myself, my secret to not being offended, is to look for humor in all things. To poke fun at the absurdities, stereotypes, rude words help us tear down those walls of fear and can get to real discussion and change. Being offended doesn’t change anything, and is a meaningless phrase (Stephen Fry has a quote about that). I like what you have to say in this post! 🙂
I am in complete agreement with your secret: humor helps to diffuse our anger and gives us a release for our tension. When I am feeling particularly cranky, I sit down and write out something funny about the experience. It gives me a whole new perspective and helps me to laugh at myself. Thanks for your comment!