How often do we hear that phrase these days?
While it is true that there are some remarks that deserve to be called offensive (such as racist and sexist ones), the majority of ‘offences’ are minor. Often it is just a difference of opinion or a different world view that causes offence.
Being offended is not a concrete reality, it is a choice!
We choose whether to be offended or not.
Even if we choose to be offended it is not going to kill us.
As a 70-year old who wears his hair in a plait, I have occasionally caused comments, such as, “God! Why are you wearing your hair like that at your age! Don’t you think it looks a bit ridiculous!”
I can choose one of two responses to this. I can become angry and demand to know what right they have to judge me, to demand to know who they think they are to criticise me, and so on.
I can reply with a question, “Do you really think so? Mmmm, that’s an interesting point of view.”
In the first response, I have ‘taken the bait’. The person has succeeded in hooking in my ego and ruffling my feathers. It is almost as if they have offered me a plate, piled up with sh*t, and I have accepted it!
In the second case scenario, I have chosen not to be upset and not to respond in kind. Because of this, the person is left holding their plate of crap, looking stupid, while I am able to look on unconcerned.
Which is the better outcome?
The main point of this little story is to show that we have a choice whether to be offended or not. We have a choice about whether we take on board other people’s opinions or not.
I suspect that, the stronger our ego, the more we will overreact to criticism. If we are easily offended maybe we need to do a little more work on ourselves rather than blame the perpetrator.
The less we respond to ‘offensive’ remarks the less often we will get them. The purpose of an ‘offensive’ remark is often to gain a reaction. If that ploy fails then it is less likely to be used on you again by that person.
Take care and stay safe.