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Stop Being Offended Today: 3 Cures for Everything That Irritates You

Stop Being Offended Today: 3 Cures for Everything That Irritates You


    There is an epidemic spreading across the world. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re all carriers of the disease. It’s called Offend-initis, a skin condition whereby the thickness of our skin melts away to the point where everything offends us. Symptoms may include: hurt feelings, indignation, irritability, disappointment, grumpiness and an all-around allergic reaction to anyone who says or does something we don’t like.

    Fortunately, there is a cure.

    But, before the healing begins, we need to start by acknowledging that there’s a problem in the first place. For many of us, we don’t even know we’re walking around with this virus, but it’s there alright, destroying all the peace of mind cells we have in our body. Being offended doesn’t just hurt our feelings, it compromises our whole “happiness immune system.”

    So, go ahead, you can say it. It’s only three words: I get offended.

    And don’t worry. You’re not alone. We all do.

    In fact, there’s almost nothing we don’t get offended by. We get offended by a roll of the eye or a shake of the head, as easily as we get offended when we’re ignored, picked on, talked about, not talked about, overworked, unappreciated, or taken for granted.

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    And, that’s not counting all those times in a day when we get offended by life disappointing us. You know what I’m talking about…those times when someone cuts us off on the road, jumps in front of us at the market, doesn’t say thank you when we think they should. We get offended by parents who can’t control their kids in restaurants, friends who don’t invite us to parties, neighbors who refuse to pick up after their dog’s mess.

    Take your pick. There’s something for everybody.

    Now, you might say being offended is nothing more than a collection of pet peeves—all those little annoyances that get under our skin.  And it’s true.  Of course, seeing as how the skin is the largest organ in the body, that’s a lot of room for these “pet peeves” to get into our system and thrive. We need to be careful of infection.

    It’s time to let the healing begin.

    Here is a simple prescription on how to stop being offended — three small pills to help clear up the irritation of life.

    Pill #1: Don’t Be Offended By Anything You Can’t Change

    This isn’t a pill as much as it’s an awareness we need to swallow. Let’s face facts. We’re not helping the world one bit by being offended. And, yet, we often mistake our indignation for action, thinking that our being offended makes us more empathetic and caring, as if being upset by people who text while driving makes us pillars of the community.

    In other words, we try to justify being offended.

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    I know I get offended at texting drivers—the indignation of someone putting my kids at risk. And while it’s true that it’s dangerous, lets be real about this whole “justifying” business: my stink eye across the freeway isn’t going to save hundreds of lives, anymore than being offended at the guy who lets his dog poop all over someone else’s lawn will do anything to beautify my own.

    Being offended without taking action does nothing to make the world a better place. It only raises our blood pressure and makes us agitated.

    If we’re really offended by something, we should do something about it. Talk to the person who offended you, deal with the issue, elicit change. And if I really wanted to do something about drivers who text, I should march to City Hall, call my congressman, blog about it, talk to my own kids, rally the troops. Take real action.

    But, I don’t, so I stew in my indignation…and stewing does nothing but reduce the quality of my life. But, I can change that. We all can.

    We can choose, from this moment forward, to not allow ourselves to expend one ounce of energy on what we can’t change. Rather, let’s change the things we can—starting with our own peace of mind.

    Pill #2:  Stop Looking For Things To Be Offended By

    If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times: we find what we look for. And when it comes to being offended, nothing could be more true.

    Some days it seems like we’re on the lookout for things to be offended by. We’re waiting for it. It almost becomes a habit and, like any habit, the more we keep at it, the more it becomes an everyday part of our lives.

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    Fortunately, habits can be broken. If we choose, we can change our perspective. And this isn’t just looking at the world as if the glass is half-full, it’s making a conscious decision to look at our entire life differently.

    Instead of always being the victim and looking for what someone is “doing to us,” we can start looking for all the things someone is “doing for us.”

    We could thank the neighbor’s dog for fertilizing our lawn, or the slow driver ahead of us for making us stop rushing. We could thank the texting driver for making us put our cell phones down, or the negativity dwellers for making us appreciate our positive attitudes, or the guy who’s always giving us grief for making us treat others nicer.

    In fact, we could thank all those individuals who offend us for making us stronger, happier and more content. Do this and the things that once irritated us, will now become our teachers, guiding us toward inner peace. Again, it’s all a matter of perspective, or as Wayne Dyer says,

    “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.”

    Pill #3:  Give Others The Space To Be Themselves

    I know this is a big pill to swallow, but the reality is simple: most people aren’t out to get us. They’re not doing things to make us miserable and ruin our day. They’re doing it because they’re living their own life experiences. Yes, that sometimes means they’re inconsiderate, annoying, unconscious, and not living up to our high expectations.

    But, guess what, we’re not always living up to other people’s expectations. I’ve certainly offended my share of people. I’ve rolled my eyes, said things I wish I hadn’t, been inconsiderate, unconscious and annoying. And while I’m not proud of it, I do know that I’m a better person today than I was yesterday, in the same way that the person who offended you today may be a better person tomorrow.

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    The fact is, we all need space to be ourselves—to have good days and bad days, and to not always be at our best. We need the space to change, grow, and evolve, and to do it on our own time.

    And the more we adopt this “big picture” attitude, the less demanding we will be of those around us, reducing the likelihood that we will be offended in the first place.

    And here’s the bonus: the more space we give for others to be themselves, the more space they’re likely to make for us. I know it’s a tough goal to stretch for, but it’s also one that could change the world. It’s called freedom and it’s a peaceful, energizing, and beautiful thing.

    That’s it…three small pills to cure what irritates you.

    Of course, it’s not that simple. If you really want to be cured from what offends you, you’ll need to stay on this prescription for the rest of your life.

    But, that’s a small price to pay for the freedom to live every moment with the knowledge that your days of being chronically offended are once and forever over.

    (Photo credit: Teenager Being Offended via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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