An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The Art Of NOT Being Offended

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Art Of NOT Being Offended

In a world where everyone takes offense at everything, be secure enough in who you are to practice taking NO offense


Two things have spurred me to write this post. The most recent one was a group chat I was in with several other bloggers. We always have light hearted, fun discussions about a whole variety of topics. Except this time, one of the bloggers took serious offense to what another said. She basically stopped the whole conversation with, "OMG, how rude! I can't believe you just said that to me!" It changed the whole vibe of the group chat because nobody knew where to go from there. I don't think anyone else took offense but this one particular blogger, but her offense ruined the conversation for everyone. That exchange reminded me of a seminar I went to at Wanderlust (a big yoga/love fest festival) where the speaker was teaching us the basics of Bhagadad Gita, a seriously life changing way of processing the world around you. One of the many things he had us repeat was, "I take no offense." Because offense means you're making someone else's statement about YOU, and odds are, it has nothing to do with you. The world does not revolve around you. So let it go. I want expand on this and tell you all about the art of NOT being offended.

Just sitting over here, not being offended at things and it's SO FREEING

It's an interesting world we live in, isn't it? Social media is where most people get news about the world, family and friends, yet most of us criticize it for not being "real." Bloggers talk incessantly about "stuff" - what they're wearing, where they're traveling to, their cars, their weddings, all this material stuff. That, I should add, they hope makes you want that "stuff" too. It's a pretty pathetic world if you really think about it: Fake news, excessive materialism and nonstop comparison.

When that blogger took offense at the light-hearted comment, I wondered how awful it must be to be her. She was so wrapped up in the comparison game that she couldn't handle playful comments. She took it as severe criticism and took offense. It has to be absolutely oppressing to be that wrapped into what other people think of you, don't you think? To turn a fun conversation into something that was all about HER, and negative and offensive, is absurd. What a waste of her (and everyone else involved with that conversation) energy!

Why be so concerned about what other people are doing and thinking? Why not focus on making yourself a better and more positive person? Because here's the thing: You don't control what others think or do. You can only control your reaction (including taking no offense). Let what other people are doing and thinking go. Especially if you're processing their thoughts and actions as negative. There isn't much we actually own in this life, but our thoughts and actions, including how we react to others, are two of them.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned in life is that if someone lashes out at you, or has some sort of sharp criticism, or in my case - leaves a negative comment on your blog or social media - it's actually not about you but instead a reflection of something that's going on with THEM. If someone were to call me a bad mom, for instance, it's not that I'm indeed a bad mom. It's more that they're struggling with something they did as a parent.

Henry taking offense at the flower falling apart. It's ok, he'll learn the art of letting it go soon.

When you start to process the world in a way that it's not all about you, it's so freeing and it becomes much easier to NOT take offense. It also enables you to be a more compassionate and emphatic person. Empathy is something the world needs so much more of! Think I'm a bad mom? Cool, I hope you figure out what it is that's bothering you about motherhood. Offended by my lack of makeup on a daily basis? Awesome, I hope applying makeup on thick makes you feel better about yourself but odds are you feel some type of way about your inner beauty. See what I'm saying here?

There's definitely an art to NOT being offended. And it takes regular practice. You have to train your brain to let things go and to not make a given situation about you. A huge part of this process is letting go of comparison, letting go of the importance of material items (after all - you can't take any of that stuff with you when you leave this earth and they are just things that don't define your importance) and realizing other's words or (re)actions aren't about you. In the wise words of the yoga instructor at Wanderlust, "Repeat after me: I take no offense. Now do it again. I take no offense."


14 comments:

  1. You know I've been guilty of this, but I do think I've come a LONG way since even the beginning of the year. I'm proud of that. While I agree with 90% of this, I also think it's important to note that sometimes people are really just jerks... and while being overly offended is in no one's best interest, it's also not license to just brush it off and let them continue to act that way.

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  2. I love and can relate to this completely, Paige. This is one of the biggest differences between my sister and me - she takes everything to heart while I take your approach and feel sad for the offender because of what you described. It's very freeing. In fact, she just got so worked up about a situation during pick up at school where she thought the teacher had it out for her because her son threw a huge tantrum - it was a big thing, she was worried sick and wrote this long email apologizing - and the teacher didn't even KNOW IT HAPPENED. I have a few posts on this topic on the back burner that I'm sure you'll relate to as well. Well done, and love the Henry pic.

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  3. Great article. I totally agree with what you said, "Why be so concerned about what others are doing and thinking." It's so true!! And making ourselves a more positive person is what our real focus should be on. Great read, thank you!!

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  4. I think as a society we're all way too sensitive nowadays and get offended over anything. I completely get feeling upset over something someone said to you (as that's natural) but honestly perspective is everything and like you said WE control how we let others impact our lives. Online discussions are also harder sometimes too just because people don't know how to read sarcasm or jokes sometimes, and I'm personally a super sarcastic person lol. Great post!

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  5. I love this! I've never been easily offended by things and never really understood why other people were. I like the point you made that taking offense is really making something about you - that makes so much sense.

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  6. "You don't control what others think or do. You can only control your reaction." AMEN! I feel like Americans these days get offended by everything. It didn't use to be like that. But we can only control how we react. Great read friend!

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  7. Being offended is so commonplace these days. I wish we could go back to having opinions without everyone getting mad.

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  8. I definitely agree that a lot of people are too quick to take offense. I try to let things roll off me and take no offense, if not only so I don't have to stress about it. It's not that I don't care what people think, I just don't think it's worth pushing myself into a worried state over. Reflecting and growing is important to me, so I don't think I could never not care about what people think. Especially since there's a fine line between not caring when you really need to reflect and grow, and not caring because you're in a happy, stable place :) Thanks for the thoughts, loved reading this!

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  9. Wow, I love this post! The only thing you can control is your own actions and thoughts, but it does take practice. This simple 'not taking offense' and just realizing that it is not all about me really helps! Which is a bit weird, since I'm not really the person to think it's all about me, but I often do feel like I have to solve things for other people, which essentially is the same thing: making it about me. I'll print this out, if I realize this more often, I'm sure it would make life even easier :)

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  10. Here to the freaking YE! I am guilty of it from time to time but I'm trying valiantly not to let other people's shit be my shit.
    xo

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  11. People are so very wrapped up in themselves these days. It could be because I've gotten older, but these days... I just don't care much to get offended. I don't care much if I've offended anybody, either. Life is simply too short to worry about it.

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  12. It is truly something that you have to practice on a daily basis. I find mysel having to say something similar just to keep my sanity. I am still a work in progress.

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  13. Repeating over and over again to myself "I take no offense." Thank you so much for sharing this. To be honest, I struggle with this. You are right when a comment is said it isn't about you but more about them. A great reminder.

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  14. How great that you've been able to overcome and not be offended by what others say. It's a struggle for me, for sure!

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