Stop Being Offended
Wayne Dyer, best-selling author, and lecturer uses the phrase, “stop being offended” in his highly acclaimed Power of Intention series. Very simple words, very simple thought. Yet, it is likely one of the most difficult things I had to learn as I began to change my own thought patterns.
Daily, we face things as simple as someone cutting us off on our way to a parking spot, or as complicated as someone gossiping about us or attacking our character. Each of these situations requires a certain level of self-awareness in order to not be offended.
When a person cuts you off in the parking lot, you can get angry, make hand gestures, yell and scream and raise your stress levels. OR, you can take a deep breath and send a positive thought toward that person. Our first emotion might be one of anger and as that anger swells in us, it is easy and natural to feel the urge to strike out.
If we truly want to take Dr. Dyer’s advice and STOP being offended we have to look at the whole situation differently. This driver (the one who cut you off) doesn’t know you at all and has no reason to purposely offend you. Quite simply, they have their own issues on their mind. They are likely living in the past or worrying about the future and have no real awareness of the here and now. So your anger is completely wasted. You can either spend the next half hour complaining about the rudeness of the driver or you can find another spot and go about your day. You either choose to be offended, or you choose not to be offended.
Other situations, like gossip or personal attacks, are more challenging. In fact, I had gone through the Power of Intention CDs several times and I still found it difficult to NOT be offended when it appeared that others were deliberately trying to hurt me.
Finally, it clicked. It isn’t about me. People have motives for what they do and very rarely do their motives involve me. If someone gossips it is because they feel a need to build themselves up by tearing others down; if someone attacks on a personal level, it is very possible that they have their own insecurities that they don’t know how to handle.
In a way, I was being very egotistical by thinking these things were actually about me. I’m really not all that important. This realization brought with it enormous power for me. Power to let go of any grudges I had been holding, the power to forgive people who I may not have forgiven in the past, and the power to let go of anger and rebuild my thoughts in a positive and healthy manner. I finally realized that I have absolutely no control of other peoples’ behaviors. I only have control over my own reactions to them. I chose to stop being offended.
If you are holding anger, resentment, and grudges in your life I can assure you that you are not free. You are carrying stress that harms you daily. Moving forward in your career or in your life requires you to let go of anger and grudges. Realize that your anger is about you, not about others. You have a choice. Hold it or let it go. If you choose to let it go you are taking the first step to self-awareness.