04 August, 2009

Taking Offense

As you undoubtedly participate in this thing we call “being human”, you have had, during any given day or week, numerous chances to take offense at things that others have said or done. Others invade our space, say things to us that we believe to be inappropriate, and take actions in areas that we feel weren’t within their realm of authority. Others overlook us for certain tasks or we feel that they take advantage of our good natures in their requests of us. Others don’t esteem us highly enough or they don’t show the respect we think we deserve. The list of offenses goes on and on….

Why do you think it is that there seems to be an endless barrage of things that irritate us? When I find myself stuck in a situation, and I’m not sure what’s at the cause of a seemingly continuous pattern, one of the very first litmus tests I conduct is this: I ask myself, “What do each of these situations have in common?” This opens me up to be in the inquiry of the cause and allows me to be present to the possibility that anything could show up. (The reason this is important is because we often hide the truth from ourselves. Being fully present in the inquiry allows us to see what may be currently hidden from our sight.)

After asking yourself “what each of the situations has in common,” if you find that the common element is you, then you must be willing to look more deeply into why it is that you become offended so easily. While you continue in that inquiry, there are a series of questions you might ask yourself the next time you are offended. These questions are listed in the following paragraphs.

The next time you want to be offended/take offense at someone (and trust me, there will be a next time), I request that you stop and ask yourself this question, “Do I need to be offended?” Just asking yourself that question will allow you to be in the inquiry of whether or not you really need to be offended and for what purpose. This will allow you a freer platform to examine that which has happened and will allow you to determine whether it’s worth being upset or not.

I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t be offended. There are consequences to either choice. There is a great deal of energy that you will continually expend if you choose to continue in your upset. If you are able to give up being offended, you will find that peace and love are present for you and you will be able to engage your mind in things that might better serve you. You may feel at this point that you want to remain offended. If so, just be aware that whatever choice you make will have its consequences. The consequences may be negative or the consequences may be positive. But, there are always consequences to any of our actions.

If you find that there is the need to be offended, then I request that you stop and ask yourself this next question (phrased three different ways but with the same intent), “What will I get out of it? What will I get out of taking offense at this person? What will being offended provide to me?”

After you’ve been in that inquiry, if you find that being offended will provide you with the feelings that you want, and therefore you have chosen to be offended and you know what taking offense is going to provide for you, then I have a final request of you. (I have this same request for those who in their earlier inquiry of: “What does each situation have in common”, found that there is really only one person who continually offends them.)

For this last question, I am requesting that you sit down and take the time to really contemplate the answer. And ask yourself this question: “Do, I really want to continue in a relationship with this person?”

Now, that may sound harsh. But listen to what I’m saying. If you’ve already looked at the questions above, and you’ve decided that this offense cannot go by without some type of retaliation or vengeance or you carrying hurt in your heart, and you’ve already determined that having that retaliation / taking offense / being offended is really worth whatever it will cost you, then I’m asserting that you really need to examine who this person is for you and determine whether you really need (or want) him or her in your life.

To be continued in tomorrow’s blog: “Toxic People.”

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