Taking offense is a losing game. Here’s why…
1 Dec

Taking offense is a losing game. Here’s why…

Taking offense is a losing game. We’ve all experienced feeling offended at some point in our lives and it’s easy to let it consume us, right? Whether it’s self-inflicted or deliberate, it never feels good. We certainly know what it feels like when a family member criticizes us, a car cuts us off in traffic, a longtime friend “unfriends” us, someone makes an unkind comment, or a friend betrays us.

Yet did you know that taking offense is a warning indicator of an unresolved issue we have within ourselves? It’s also an opportunity to be more aware of what’s going on inside, so we can take personal responsibility for our own well-being.

“The feeling of being ‘offended’ is a warning indicator that is showing you where to look within yourself for unresolved issues.” ~ Bryant McGill

Feeling offended can actually harm our health. According to recent studies, holding onto negative emotions such as feeling offended has a negative effect on our overall well-being. It leads to stress, anxiety, and even physical health issues. When we feel offended, our body releases stress hormones that can lead to increased blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. This can also weaken our immune system and lead to a higher risk of chronic illness. Because we’re in a state of dis-ease, it compromises our health.

Instead of letting it take a toll on us, we can practice being aware of it and do what’s needed to stay in a place of inner peace all the time. Yes, we have a choice. We can decide to not let the actions or opinions of others control our emotions and our life. Taking care of our health and inner state of being is our primary responsibility. We should never be easy prey to anyone or anything. Period.

So, let’s begin by taking a closer look at what “being offended” means and how we can overcome it. Feeling offended is an experience of a negative emotion such as insult, hurt, outrage, anger, annoyed, belittled, and more. An example might be a rude clerk or an unkind comment from a friend.

Notice, feeling offended is a reaction and a choice. Yes, taking offense to what someone says or does is our choice. When we “take” this negativity inside ourselves we only hurt ourselves. Unfortunately, this behavior can have a profound effect on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being…including our sense of self-worth. Yet, when we allow a life situation to be “what is” and don’t take offense, we’re not condoning anyone’s behavior; instead, we’re letting go of judgment because we know deep down it’s not personal.

Know this for sure, we all do the best we can. We really do. We’re all in different places according to our background and experiences. It’s not reasonable to expect ourselves or someone else to live beyond their ability in the moment.

“He who takes offense when offense was not intended is a fool, yet he who takes offense when offense is intended is an even greater fool.” ~ Brigham Young

Know that the root cause of taking offense is the lack of healthy boundaries and personal authority on the inside and the outside. The truth is…the threat we feel comes from our own insecurities. This vulnerability results in unnecessary pain and suffering. This is how we allow our thoughts, and the comments of others take us over. We accept what’s said because we’re not clear about who we are, we haven’t taken our rightful authority, and therefore are not immune to the outside world. Know that the source of our worthiness isn’t outside us. It’s found inside.

Remember…engaging with our thoughts is a choice we make. The feeling of offense comes from the thoughts we think, believe, and follow. Yet we can overcome it by not getting involved or engage in negative thoughts. They’re not helpful. Instead, we can write down our thoughts, so we can recognize them when they return…and they will.

Almost all our thoughts are random, repetitive, and unproductive. Thus, when we’re aware of our thoughts in the present moment, we can consciously choose the high road. And, as we become more empowered, we rise above. So let them go.

Let’s practice. It’s important we learn how to manage our emotions in a healthy way. Practicing mindfulness, seeking out support when needed, and learning effective communication strategies are a few options.

Start by being the watcher to reduce the seriousness of life situations so you can recognize and neutralize them. Put a space around it to observe what’s going on from a distance. Notice the thoughts about the situation and recognize the source of all problems. Above all, ask for greater guidance to see things differently. Remember, feeling offended is just a life situation; it’s not life. Learn to grow from it.

Next time you feel offended, redirect your attention out of the mind and into the present aliveness of your body and surroundings. Take 3 conscious breaths to become more aware of your inner being. In this place, we can experience greater peace and are better able to practice love, empathy, understanding, and forgiveness. We can’t love and fear at the same time. Notice…when we take authority over thoughts and emotions, we lead happier, healthier lives.

Isn’t it time to prioritize your well-being and leave all negativity behind? In the meantime, be proud of how far you’ve come and give yourself grace to grow. I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Please share it with someone. It just might be what they need to hear today. Come back for next month’s blog and…

For more insight, consider reading Chapter 9 “The Busy Mind” in my book: “Breaking Free from the Ego: A Course in Finding and Freeing Yourself”.  https://amzn.to/3mC7vO9

About the Author – Trina Carroll-Houk is a spiritual teacher, counselor, and founder of Breaking Free Boundaries, LLC who specializes in self-awareness, mindfulness, and the spiritual dimension of being. Her goal is to help people improve their quality of life so they can experience inner peace, meaningful purpose, and greater fulfillment. Trina represents a movement focused on helping people release what limits them from living in a higher dimension of spiritual consciousness.

Checkout Trina’s book on most online retail sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or BookBaby Bookshop: “Breaking Free from the Ego: A Course in Finding and Freeing Yourself.”

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