So, you’re offended…

…why should anyone care?

Don’t get me wrong, Dear Reader – there are plenty of things to legitimately get offended over; things like blatant racism and sexism, bullying and severe personal attacks. These day, though, people seem to be offended by the smallest things:

A picture on facebook, someone criticizing your views, a stranger being an idiot online – why be offended?

The next time you feel offended and get upset, stop for a second and ask yourself a few questions – and if the answer to any of these are ‘no’, aim your energy at yourself instead of lashing out:

Do I really need to take this personally?
If it wasn’t aimed at you, maybe there’s no need to feel attacked at all. Take a look at yourself and examine why you feel the way you do about it.
Will speaking out against this make me feel better, regardless of how others react?
If you expect strangers to feel empathy, say sorry, or listen to your views you will most likely be disappointed and end up feeling even worse. Chances are you will do yourself a disservice by venting in public, and would do better to talk about it with an understanding friend instead.
Does this person’s opinion really matter to me?
If the offendee is a friend or relative that’s one thing, but if it’s Joe Average or Jane Strange I suggest you think twice about if their views of you or the issue at hand truly matters.
Am I willing to listen to their reasons and opinions, honestly and with an open mind?
If you just want to yell or lecture or tell them off, expecting them to just listen and take it, maybe you shouldn’t. You can’t expect people to consider your side of things if you won’t consider theirs. You can’t change anyone unless they let you – which they won’t unless they already respect you and value your opinion.

If someone is obviously attacking you and trying to offend or belittle or oppress you, think carefully about your reaction.

If possible, laugh it off and rise above them. If you get hurt or angry, half the battle is lost, but if you can calm yourself and reply with wit, reason or facts, half the battle is won. Often though, it is preferable to just ignore them and avoid the battle altogether. Don’t waste your energy fighting battles you can’t win.

No one can offend you unless you give them that power. So don’t.

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