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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, May 16, 2014

Don't Be Offended

I am discovering how many ways one can be offended. Every day that passes there is someone from folks I know who are offended. Its real life, it hurts, it lasts with you, it causes you to react, it interrupts your peace, it impacts your relationship with God and with others. The offending word, phrase, action can come from those who you would least expect to those you might expect. It can happen unknowingly from some and knowingly from others. The result is always the same. Inner pain, a lessening of trust, a re-examination of your own relationship with that individual, emotions emerge and considerations of reaction fill your mind and being. It is not a state you want to be in. Its effects are a barrier, blockage, and burden in your life. It causes your life to detour from those things you could be doing that matter, keeping you from being your true self and a blessing to others.

Not long ago I read an article, “The Fine Art of Not Being Offended”. In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date. In other words, the majority of people in our world say and do what they do from their own set of fears, conclusions, defenses and attempts to survive. Most of it, even when aimed directly at us, has nothing to do with us. This type of behaviour is often referred to as psychodynamics. In essence, the offender acts out towards others inappropriately due to the dynamics of conflicts, stresses and tensions that are manifesting within them as a symptom or challenge in their lives. We can have compassion, empathy and also take constructive steps to address the offenses that range from unawareness to outright bullying. These are not easy solutions and we all struggle with how to lovingly work through these challenges in our lives.  

But let’s face it, we live in a world where psychodynamics are commonplace. If we want to live in relationship within our communities of family, friends and associates we really needs to understand that due to the nature and culture of everyone’s psychology we have not yet been offended for the last time. It will happen again and again in our lives and to those we love. God forbid, we at times will be the perpetrator.

“All of that said, almost nothing is personal. Even with our closest loved ones, our beloved partners, our children and our friends. We are all swimming in the projections and filters of each other’s life experiences and often we are just the stand-ins, the chess pieces of life to which our loved ones have their own built-in reactions. This is not to dehumanize life or take away the intimacy from our relationships, but mainly for us to know that almost every time we get offended, we are actually just in a misunderstanding. A true embodiment of this idea actually allows for more intimacy and less suffering throughout all of our relationships. When we know that we are just the one who happens to be standing in the right place at the right psychodynamic time for someone to say or do what they are doing—we don’t have to take life personally. If it weren’t us, it would likely be someone else. This frees us to be a little more detached from the reactions of people around us. How often do we react to a statement of another by being offended rather than seeing that the other might actually be hurting? In fact, every time we get offended, it is actually an opportunity to extend kindness to one who may be suffering—even if they themselves do not appear that way on the surface. All anger, all acting out, all harshness, all criticism, is in truth a form of suffering. When we provide no Velcro for it to stick, something changes in the world.

This is also not to be confused with allowing ourselves to be hurt, neglected or taken advantage of. True compassion does not allow harm to ourselves either. But when we know that nothing is personal, a magical thing happens. When we know that our inherent worth is not determined by what another says, does or believes, we can live with the offensive action and an continue to be me. We can walk away without creating more misery for ourselves or having to convince the other person that we are good and worthy people. We can be me.

The great challenge of our world is to live a life of contentment, regardless of what other people do, say, think or believe. The fine art of not being offended is one of the many skills. Though it may take a lifetime of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life.” 
Dr. Shemsi Prinzivalli

Submitted by Kerry Richards

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