How many times have I “taken offense” at something someone said or did? If you’re anything like me, you probably cannot count the times. But have you ever stopped to reflect on the term “take offense?”
If I “take offense”, then aren’t I willingly permitting myself to be hurt or offended by what someone says or does? Can I choose to NOT permit myself to be hurt or offended? In otherwords, is it possible to refuse to take offense?
I think so.
I have found that if I’m okay with me, then it’s very likely I’ll be okay with you…and whatever you might say. That doesn’t mean I will agree with you or what you’ve said. It just means I accept whatever you’ve said for what it is. If I stop there, and go about my business, I’ve just refused to take offense.
But often something will compel me to not ‘stop there.’ That is, I will not go about my business. That something, in my case, is EGO. That overuse of the character strength called confidence. That strength, when left unmanaged, will make me want everyone to agree with me…leaving open plenty of space for offense to be taken when others disagree.
What’s the answer? Coaching has taught me that it begins with Awareness. First, I become aware that I am “taking offense.” Then I move to Acceptance of the fact that what you say has less to do with me and more to do with you. Finally, I take Action by reminding myself that I can refuse to “take offense” and simply go on with my day. What a relief to know my happiness is not dependent upon what others do or say!
So next time you feel yourself beginning to “take offense” at something someone says or does, ask yourself “do I really want to take offense or am I willing to reject it and go on with my day?”