You probably know what it’s like when someone insults or offends you. It hurts. And depending on your relationship with the individual, it can really ruin your day and throw you off kilter.
But that’s not a very fun way to live, is it? And since you can’t control other people’s behavior, you can control your own. So, to help you stop being easily offended by everything, keep reading for seven helpful suggestions.
How people act is about them, not you
One of the biggest reasons why people offend you is because you think their behavior is about you. But if you can change this belief, you can start to experience greater equanimity right away.
In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz outlines four principles to live by. They are simple, yet life-changing. One of the four agreements states, “Don’t take anything personally.”
And Ruiz explains why you shouldn’t take anything personally: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally…Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
But what does that mean exactly? You see, everyone has their own experiences, beliefs, ideas, opinions, biases, insecurities and fears. And all of these things influence every single thing they say or do.
So, if someone says something that’s hurtful to you, take a moment and realize that their statement may not be as black and white as it seems. That statement has been influenced by so many different factors that probably have nothing to do with you
Take responsibility for your own happiness
Do you expect other people to make or break your day? If so, you’re placing a lot of responsibility on other people – sometimes, complete strangers – to make you happy. And that’s not really fair, nor is it their job.
In fact, you’re the one person who is responsible for your own happiness. So, it’s important to take active steps every single day to cultivate your own sense of happiness and contentment.
The better you are doing that, the more difficult it will be for other people to offend you so easily.
How people talk to you is how they talk to themselves
In her YouTube video, How to Deal With Negativity and Be Positive, Mimi Ikonn reminds viewers that how people talk to you is actually a reflection of how they talk to themselves. She calls it their “inner talk”.
So, if someone is nasty or rude to you, guess what? That’s probably how they talk to themselves all day, every day. It might be because they struggle with self-esteem. It might be because they suffer from a mental illness. It might be that they’re having a bad day.
Either way, how people talk to you is how they talk to themselves. So, this is just another reason why you don’t have to take things personally and get offended. Instead, it’s an opportunity to be compassionate and forgiving.
Try to see the bigger picture
If someone criticizes you and your work, it can be quite a blow to your sense of confidence and self-worth.
But try to step back and see the bigger picture. Perhaps these people didn’t receive enough positive reinforcement and encouragement growing up, and they simply don’t know how to communicate kindly.
If the person in question is in a leadership or managerial position, it may be that they’re under a lot of pressure from their boss. And this pressure rubs off on you.
To be honest, there are so many factors that go into every single interaction, so try to look at the issue objectively. If you do, you just might see that it has very little, and perhaps nothing, to do with you.
Don’t make assumptions and jump to conclusions
You might interpret negative behavior as a sign that someone doesn’t like you. Or, even worse, that they intentionally want to hurt you. But chances are, that’s just a story you’re creating in your head.
Did you ever stop to think that maybe they feel threatened by you? Perhaps you trigger their low sense of self-worth, insecurity or fear? If so, their behavior really isn’t about you. It’s a reflection of their own inner struggles.
What can you learn from being offended?
When you feel offended by what someone says or does, take a moment to ask yourself why. Did they set off your insecurity? Did they say something that you didn’t want to hear, even though it’s true? Did they offer feedback that could actually help you grow and improve if you accept it and integrate it into your life?
Another thing to remember is that sometimes when we’re super offended by someone, it may be that we’re reacting to something we dislike about ourselves.
Therefore, if something offends you, perhaps it’s a sign that that’s the very thing you need to work on in your own life.
Meditation is great for so many things. It can help to relieve feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. And it can also help you to feel more equanimous and calm. What’s more, meditation enables you to experience life as the observer or witness.
And when you can observe things from a calm standpoint, it frees you from feeling like a victim and martyr.
In fact, you might still feel offended by what someone says or does, but now, instead of getting swept up in an emotional rollercoaster ride, you can say, “Oh, look at that. I’m feeling offended about this.”
And just like that, you can observe yourself, and choose if you want to keep feeling this way or not.
The truth is, the world is full of people who, at any given moment, can say or do something to offend you. We can’t change these people, and we can’t escape from this common human experience.
But there’s one very powerful thing we can do: we can make the decision to see things differently and to cultivate different beliefs about our experiences. And these seven tips can help you do just that.