Never Be Offended

We’ve all known people who are a little thin-skinned. An off-color remark or a political opinion overheard in the break room can set their pulses racing. Even if they don’t touch off a war of words by replying, you can tell their ability to concentrate is shot, sometimes for the whole day.

Heck, I might even be describing YOU. (No offense.)

I wouldn’t begin to tell you something isn’t offensive. That’s for you to decide. But you also have control over how you react, including whether you yourself are offended.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Stephen Covey put it this way: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Here’s the thing: No one can offend you without your consent. Think about it. Whether or not something offends me is completely in my own hands. It’s a kind of agreement I enter into, a willingness to give myself over to the emotions and distractions that will wash over me as a result of someone else’s words or actions, killing my attitude, my engagement, and my productivity for who knows how long.

Are you really willing to put yourself in someone else’s control like that?

If you give in to offense, that’s just what you’re doing. People put themselves at the mercy of others if they let themselves be offended. It might be a careless remark, or the way someone dresses or acts that throws you into a tailspin of offense. It could even be something they said or thought about you.

So what? Forget about it! Learn to let things roll off you like water off a duck’s back. You’ll keep your focus better, you’ll stay on top of your game, and you won’t let others manipulate your emotions with their game-playing.

YOU will be in the driver’s seat.

Quick tip

If something really gets under your skin, trying writing down your response on a piece of paper—then throwing it in the garbage. That simple act of expression can often free you up to get on with your day.

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