Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to Stop Being So Offended By Everything



Taking everything personally sucks.

You get frustrated, angry, and offended by opinions that usually weren't expressed for the purpose of an attack or threat. This tendency leads you to feel alienated, oversensitive, and alone.

I'm sure you don't want to feel alienated, oversensitive, and alone.

Its fine to be offended. If someone says or does something that you find genuinely harmful/ignorant/wrong, you have every right to speak up, challenge their opinion and defend your own.

The problem lies in entitlement. If you think people should cater to your beliefs/opinions and tiptoe around you to indulge your reactiveness/oversensitivity, then you will be disappointed time and time again. You will turn into an emotional wreck and no one of strong character will want to be around you because you will irritate them with your neediness and entitlement.

It can suck to hear, but no one wants to be around a  judgmental crybaby.

It's great to be sensitive, and it's great to be in touch with your emotions. It's great to nurture your emotions and it's great to surround yourself with people who are gentle with your emotions. Despite all of the positivity that comes from emotional sensitivity, it is not to be confused with emotional fragility and entitlement.

Emotionally fragile and entitled people expect others to cater to their reactiveness. They see themselves as delicate flowers in a cruel world. Instead of working on their own sense of self and strengthening their ability to respond to situations, they indulge their tendency to react and expect the world to honor that reactiveness.

We all do it, but life is really going to suck for you if you do it all the time.

Allowing yourself to indulge your emotional fragility without any attempt at emotional maturity is to rob yourself of personal growth. To choose to be totally engulfed in how you feel and to allow yourself to get wrapped up in your reactions is to blind yourself from seeing the bigger picture and remove yourself from the responsibility of trying out new perspectives and point of views. Doing this dismisses other people's opinions and reduces them to attacks on yourself/ total wrongness/ evil. Sure, sometimes people can say things that are an attack on you, totally wrong, and evil, but the emotional fragile are too blind to really differentiate between genuine personal attacks and genuine self expression.

The first step in becoming more emotionally mature and responsive (rather than reactive) is to admit to yourself that you can be really reactive and forgive yourself for it. Decide that you are going to try to be more open minded and less self centered and truly set that intention. Remind yourself of that intention and be patient with yourself.

The next step is to figure out what triggers your reactiveness. What are you projecting onto others? What expectations are you upholding that do not make sense to uphold? Examine your belief system and pay attention to what has and continues to make you upset.

Sensitive about your weight and body image? Stop expecting the outside world to validate your body. Stop expecting the outside world to see the beauty in your body. Stop expecting the outside world to cater to and indulge your diet, your exercise level, and your size. If you're sensitive about your body, try to figure out why. Own up to that reason and truly examine if that reason is based on a belief that is good for you or bad for you. Before reacting to comments about weight, which might not even be directed at you, stop and ask yourself why you are reacting. If it hurts, why does it hurt? Either do the work of looking inside and examining yourself or accept  the reality of becoming miserable and overbearing.

Sensitive about your religious/political views? Not everyone does or should believe in what you believe in. Accept that. Focus more on being a loving, considerate person. Don't generalize.

Offended by others' behavior/word choice? Think about it first, then respond. Don't like someone's behavior, tell them you don't and really listen to their explanation. Don't like a word someone used? Ask them why they use it and tell them why it bothers you. If they don't agree with you, then agree to disagree. If it's that hurtful, then communicate that hurt.

Getting offended and upset is a cop out. It doesn't do anything. You can cry and complain all you want, but that doesn't do anything towards building the life you want and sharing the values you uphold. It's lazy. It's ineffective. It's an energy drain. It's choosing to be a self absorbed drama queen. It's choosing to nitpick little details and it's being okay with your inability to judge whether something is worth getting super upset about or not.

We all can do this. The important part is recognizing that we do this and setting the intention to stop. This can be way harder with people you love because you (usually subconsciously) expect them to cater to your emotional needs. It can be hard to differentiate emotional needs from emotional insecurities. Sometimes fights snowball and you become over reactive, but that is 1. different from being overly offended all the time and 2. another occasion to heed this advice and respond rather than react.

Try to communicate your concerns. Ask the other person to explain their belief/statement, and really listen. Stop projecting the worst onto them. It's okay if you feel resistance and emotion bubbling up and lingering, but hold the intention to understand and get over it and establish something more productive over the intention to indulge yourself and play victim.

Stop looking for things to get offended by. Stop with the self important view that everything is about you. See the bigger picture. Put yourself into their shoes. If the bigger picture really sucks, say something. If the bigger picture is that your insecurities are being triggered, then make an intention to work on your insecurities and stop expecting people to indulge them. Stop expecting everyone to agree with you. Stop expecting others to behave according to some rule book in your head about what's proper and what's improper without question. Stop being a control freak who doesn't control their own emotions.

Be a better person. Be a stronger person. Be open minded. Be a more thoughtful and understanding person. It's a journey, and everyone sucks at it sometimes. But don't accept it. Have a sense of humor and learn how to laugh it off, stick your tongue out and give your friend the middle finger, get over it, and focus on love.

-Wynona