We’ve all been offended by someone. Whether the other person meant to be hurtful or not, there’s a way to not take it personally and rebound from it.
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend explains how to not be offended.
Remember…You Have the Power
The school kids sure had it right when they taunted each other during their squabbles with the famous phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” In reality this simple phrase contains such a powerful message about our freedom to choose how to interpret the words of others. We can choose to not be hurt by what others say to us. The greatest power we have has humans is the power to choose how we will respond to any given set of circumstances. Nothing is more debilitating than when we give up the power to determine how we feel by letting another person’s actions turn our world upside down. Simply remembering that you have the power to choose how you respond to the events of your life is the beginning of taking back your life. It puts your world and your feelings back in your hands.
It’s Not About You
One key to not taking things personally is to remember the rule that “What most people say is much more a reflection of them than it is of you.” When people complain, criticize or make comments that are offensive, they’re usually just manifesting the pain that they are experiencing. When we focus on ourselves, and take offense to what they say, their pain and hurt end up being transferred over to us only to cause even more pain to both of us. The key is to not let them transfer their pain over to us, but instead help alleviate some of their pain by effectively listening and understanding them. When this takes place, the offender has the catharsis that comes with being understood and the peace of feeling less hurt. In reality the old bible adages of “Comforting those in need of comfort” and “Turning the other cheek” is really the best advice we can use to improve relationships in conflict.
Embrace the Truth and Understand the Rest
Many times when we’re offended by others, there usually is some part of what is being said that is truthful. In effect, we end up being offended not by what the person said but by the fact that they’re talking about something we don’t like about ourselves, that we’re personally frustrated with and trying to fix. Their comments about our inadequacies shines a light on something we don’t want exposed. The most natural reaction to such embarrassment might be to feel angry and then direct that anger and embarrassment to the other person. Sadly, the minute we start chasing other people for pointing out our weakness, we end up using all of our energy in chasing, rather than in changing. This only makes us feel guilty. When you find yourself getting easily offended or taking things personally ask yourself this simple question, “What part of what they’re saying do I really need to work on?” That doesn’t mean we need to accept everything that is being thrown at us, just sift through it and find any truth. Then instead of feeling offended, sad and being a martyr use that same energy to improve yourself and change your life.
Find your Confidence in Your Character…Not Their Comments.
Usually when we are offended or threatened by what another person has said it’s because they’ve exposed a character flaw or weakness in us. Perhaps they found a crack in our armor. Exposing this character flaw can have a damaging effect because in our world we place far too much emphasis on what others think of us rather than on realizing our own value. This can lead to a lack of confidence which is magnified by the materialistic view of the world. We place so much emphasis on things we can see and touch, the tangibles of life that sometimes we forget about the intangibles, like a person’s character, offering forgiveness, feeling happy in the quiet moments of life. If our security and sense of self comes from what we have, the things we own or even our relationships, we may have a problem. In reality, our greatest sense of self-worth and confidence must come from our character, or the principles we chose to live our life by, not by the flippant or unthinking remark of another person.
Date Night with Matt Townsend
“Talking about Finances with your Partner”
Friday, April 29
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
$35 per couple
Location: Noah’s in South Jordan