When you think about it, you choose to be offended.
In recent times we've seen an enormous jump in political correctness, part of this may be due to new generations taking offence more often than we did in the past.
Those of us that are in the second half of our lives can look back and remember our parents saying turn the other cheek, don't take things so personally, it's not all about you, it's about them. I think they may have a point as the level of resilience today seems to be lower, when compared to the past.
Your feelings may be hurt but you don’t have to react. It can be hard to Step Back, but you don’t have to get involved, you do have a choice.
Think, what if I hadn’t heard it? It may well still have been said but you wouldn’t know, it cant affect you. So what if you did hear it and you decided to ignore it, it has affected you but how much attention are you going to give it. Oxygen on the flames if you like.
If you adopt a giving mindset, you would be wondering why they said it in the first place what's their intention? What was the effect they were looking for? In other words it's all about them not you. When thinking with love and not fear you remove your ego from the equation, and your left with concern or maybe just interest in why they behaved in such a way.
Let’s explore the benefits of not reacting, firstly you don't inflame the situation, secondly you are seen to be calm and in control, thirdly no one else needs to be involved and lastly, they are left to wonder the worth of what they said.
If we think about the longer term, not the immediate term, our conclusion would be different. Offence is an emotion the takes place inside your own mind it relates to another persons communication about something that you have emotional investment in for example the way you look, or something or someone you care for, or what you've achieved. Consequently, as an individual you have the capability of controlling how you react to these emotions and I'd submit the more you do control your reactions less impact each of these emotions have on you over time, which describes resilience.
Fashions and trends impact on people and their willingness or otherwise to be offended. I'd go as far to say that the constantly changing cultural boundaries within our society and therefore the level of conversation on the issue influences our feelings and resistance to them as well.
Your ability to not react to a provocation and act with composure shows how emotionally fit and resilient you are, this can also has an impact on groups around you both big and small and the standards that they adopt.
On the other side allowing some individuals to be offended has its uses, their reactions have an impact on groups and societies and therefore influences their culture, sometimes this can be for the better and standards are raised. For example, race offence is rife at the moment and to some degree this drives the much needed reforms currently underway.
As I was writing this blog, I came across a gentleman who had lost his wife in a car crash where he himself had been injured. His blame was squarely directed to the Asian driver of the other car who didn't receive an adequate punishment according to him. His offence to all Asians was palpable and to some degree you can understand this but the main person who was being affected was himself.
Any application of emotional fitness and resilience would mean he has to let go of the emotions to maintain his own health both mental and physical.
Letting go is the key to being overly offended, reminding oneself that you are charge of your own destiny by the way you react and what actions you take, rather than the circumstances that arrive at your door.
Just as getting fit and healthy physically is hard the same applies to your mental and emotional health. Its hard until you get used to the new levels of stress. The barbells of emotional strength are the act of giving and empathy. The more you exercise this positive mind set the easier it will become.
Being offended by someone else’s words and actions or online posts has a place in our society but there must be a limit. You have to decide and apply this limit. It should not impact on your own life to the degree that it devours you and leaves you unable to cope. I'ts your responsibility to let go and move on. You are not in control of everything only yourself.