We have reached a point in our society where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to say anything without offending someone. That means a lot of us also spend time being offended. Prime example of how we choose to make life harder than it needs to be. Yes, I said “choose.” While we can’t control what others say, we can control how we respond.
We live in a country of free speech, but we no longer even know what that means. I was curious myself, so I took the liberty of looking it up. On uscourts.gov there is an easy to follow explanation of the First Amendment, which is too long to add here, but I can tell you that it does not include anything that indicates that people are not allowed to say things that others don’t agree with or don’t like. We have seemingly lost sight of this. Why? Our ego. We put the emphasis on ourselves when analyzing how what everyone else does relates back to us.
For many years children have been taught that they can be anything they want to be and that their happiness is a priority. Parents often say “I just want them to be happy,” which often leads to manipulating situations to preserve their happiness. These children become adults and must cope with the cruel reality that no matter how hard they try, things aren’t always going to go their way and their happiness isn’t a concern to most people. Their sense of entitlement then carries over into everyday activities and interactions with others.
We either are offended or run into offended people frequently. You could probably scroll through your newsfeed and find 10 examples of people being offended in the first two minutes of looking. Being offended takes energy. Precious emotional energy is wasted on creating resistance with negative thoughts, feelings and actions which have physical consequences. Immediately you are hurting yourself more than those words ever could.
How do we avoid being offended? We can choose how we process and respond to what is said by others. We can’t control what others say and do, but that doesn’t stop us from trying like hell. This is resistance that wreaks havoc on our body and mind. It causes an overproduction of cortisol that contributes to anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, etc. Is anyone worth allowing this to happen to ourselves? I vote no. Words are only as powerful as the power we give them. When we choose to let them get to us, it’s because we lack confidence within ourselves regarding the topic.
Try following these four tips:
- Learn how to laugh at yourself. I have lived 39 years hearing dumb blonde jokes. Whatever. Do I believe that I am dumb because I am blonde? No, I don't. Do I think sometimes I fit the bill? Sure do! It makes for a good laugh, which is great for your health.
- Accept that happiness is a choice. No one is responsible for your happiness but you, so choose to be happy. Choose to ignore the background noise of whatever is being said that you find ridiculous. Move on. Your happiness isn’t everyone else’s priority.
- Don’t play the victim. The whole world is not out to get you. The truth is that what people say and do most often have nothing to do with you. Don’t make it about you if it’s not.
- Determine how much you value the opinion of the person who you feel offended by. Do you respect them? Are they your friend? If they aren’t, don’t give them a second of your time and energy. Save it for those who really matter to you.
By celebrating our freedoms and finding our own self-confidence and worth, we can limit the amount of resistance in our lives and continue on a path of happiness.
Jill Sodini, Founder of Habitual Health By Jill, is a Certified Health Coach, author and speaker. She provides realistic strategies for sustainable habit change regardless of the topic. With over 20 years of work experience and education in the field of health and wellness, Jill is an expert in providing the right system, support and accountability to obtain desired health. Contact Jill to take control of your life.