Reckless words pierce like a sword. ~ Proverbs 12:18
Last week I had the privilege of kicking off the summer Women of Faith series at Mountain View Church with a topic that drew a crowd: Why is it that we get so darned offended by things said to or about us by strangers, or even people we know but aren’t close to?
A simple sideways look, or a comment like “you’re wearing that?” can make us hurt and offended. Why is that?
Simply put, people often say things that we misinterpret or take personally. We look at things from our own perspective and interpret them based on our set of perceptions, expectations and values. We immediately filter what someone has said and take it personally as if it is negative and about us.
When it comes to interpreting what others say or do, it’s important to realize that it’s your reality and your reaction. You get to control that. And, every reaction you have is caused by what you are thinking. You get to control that, too!
Your relationships are your choice.
Here’s the good news. You get to choose who you trust and love. So why are you letting things that other people say offend you?
You can’t make someone show you respect, but you can refuse to be offended.
Focus on who is important to you.
Think about who matters in your life. For me, it goes like this:
2) A few others.
When you figure out whose opinions and actions matter to you, you can learn to not allow yourself to get easily offended by them because, well, they simply don’t matter.
Let the other opinions, comments, looks, etc by everyone else go. That’s right, let it go! If you can’t come up with a reason that something actually has the power to hurt you, then you let it go and not worry about it.
What if someone you care about offends you?
If you are offended by someone important to you, then you need to let them know that. Have the courage to call them out.
Try this script:
What you said made me feel…
- Then, ask what’s behind the behavior. Why did they say that?
- Express what you want to have happen: I need you to…
And, don’t forget to model what you want. It’s not what you say, how how you say it.
Think about how you are coming across. Are you an offender?
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home. And, it’s now available on Kindle! Check it out.
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