Why Being Offended is F*cking with your happiness

Last week I watched an email argument unfold. Ever have one of those? It’s funny how even the most unassertive individuals become badasses behind the keyboard. It’s easy to misinterpret messages we receive by email or text because we’re missing crucial nonverbal components (body language and tone of voice).

Sensible people know this, yet they still leap to offense. The sad part about the interaction was that neither party was intentionally being cruel or even a smidgen unkind. Two smart, successful adults lost their shit over a simple miscommunication.

We live in a highly offended world. We protect ourselves from the sting of insult by clothing our egos with armor. We wear prickly quills and behave like animals in predatory defense. But our armor does not protect us. Instead, it weighs us down.

Our armor may shield us from the flaming arrows of offense, but it also keeps us from experiencing joy, compassion, and life’s simple pleasures. How can we even understand what anyone is really saying when we’re standing at arm’s length shouting, shields up in defensive mode?

A friend asked the question on social media, “Does it offend you (her social media audience) when I post pictures of my boyfriend cooking breakfast? Do my celebratory status updates make me appear to be bragging?”

Seriously? I find it incredibly sad that this woman had to ask whether her small wins were making her so-called friends uncomfortable. Jealousy is a mirror, revealing resentment and deep longing for what’s missing in our lives. It highlights the hollow places within us and creates an angry hunger to feed our own lack.

If we find ourselves becoming irritated, jealous or offended, we have an opportunity to shift our awareness. I have to ask myself whether Beyonce’s booty dance is truly disgusting or if her feminine prowess makes me feel clumsy and less attractive.

When we keep ourselves in armor, we cannot see what lurks beneath our own protective layers. We miss the chance to create positive internal changes that will ultimately leave us happier. Because being offended is uncomfortable, and no one who’s seething beneath the surface is experiencing joy.

The phrase ignorance is bliss comes to mind, and I’m thinking it might not be so bad to live in a state of “unaware,” to not give a flying f*ck because I refuse to concern myself with what other people are thinking. “What other people think is none of my business.”  But I don’t have to go to great lengths to stay ignorant. I can be conscious of an insult or offense without being connected to it. Read more on the concept of detachment here.

Next time an email offends me, a social media selfie annoys me, or some cause raises my quills, I will try instead to examine what may be unresolved within me. I will remember that the root of suffering is NOT offense– it is my connection to offense.
Here’s to disconnecting.  

Mantra: Sometimes happiness is a matter of humility. 

 

 


32 Comments
  • Peggy
    July 18, 2016

    Absolutely LOVE this Rica! If I can’t get my shit done via email (and my job requires lots of email as it’s the main tool for communication), I either ask if the person has time for a phone call, or if they occupy space in the same building as I do, I walk over and actually TALK to the person 🙂

    • Rica Lewis
      July 18, 2016

      Great idea, Peggy! Thanks for reading and sharing the post. 🙂

  • Jennifer
    July 18, 2016

    I love everything about this. I think jealousy and being offended often get confused and social media makes it easy to fire off a quick, snide jab about being more “humble”. I also think people who should be proud of their accomplishments try to tamp them down because they don’t want to deal with the backlash they’re bound to receive.

    • Rica Lewis
      July 18, 2016

      I totally agree, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing that!

  • Christina Rambo
    July 18, 2016

    So good, and admittedly one of my biggest struggles. It has gotten better as I get older, but still… I have great improvements to make.

  • Gary Mathews
    July 18, 2016

    Nothing worse than a keyboard rambo! Let’s start a union to rid the world of miserable assholes who just get ornery behind a computer scream. You can use you ninja Yoga skills and I’ll be the behind the scenes tech support!

  • Lisa
    July 18, 2016

    I LOVE this. Such wisdom and common sense, you know? People really do need to stop worrying so much about everything and everyone else and look inside more often. They’ll be better for it. Great post!

  • sue
    July 18, 2016

    People today seem to be offended so easily don’t they Rica? I loved your post and it’s message. Wishing you a beautiful day xx Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty #blogsharelearn

  • Raymond Baxter
    July 18, 2016

    Probably my favourite post from you Rica. I always say that when I feel offended the first thing I do is look at myself 😀

    Offense is a childish reaction 🙂

  • Roxanne Jones
    July 18, 2016

    What a thoughtful message, Rica! We do spend way too much time and energy being concerned about what others think of us, and getting our knickers in a twist over stuff that has nothing to do with us. There’s such freedom in just letting that sh*t go!

    • Rica Lewis
      July 18, 2016

      Thanks, Roxanne! Glad you stopped by to read and comment. 🙂

  • Jennifer
    July 18, 2016

    Ok, ok. I’ll try to stop being so obnoxious. In truth, I try every day. I often get annoyed by the same types of things and then have to question where that annoyance is coming from It’s not always pretty and I am a work in progress.

    • Rica Lewis
      July 18, 2016

      Ha ha, Jennifer, we are all a work in progress! 🙂

  • KIMBERLY MUNOZ
    July 18, 2016

    I love everything about this post. Aside from the arguing. 100% truth. I hate that people have to censor themselves in fear of offending others. Im guilty of this too. I think about everyone on my friends list before I hit that publish or post button. I shouldn’t!

    • Rica Lewis
      July 19, 2016

      Thanks so much for reading. Glad you enjoyed the post, Kimberly!

  • Charlotte
    July 20, 2016

    Yes, yes, and more yes. I’m trying hard not to let the little things in life get to me, but it does bring up the quote that “comparison is the thief of joy.” When I look at snippets of someone’s life on social media, it’s easy to see those and think “they have it good.” But I don’t really know that, and instead, I start to get down on myself. Who wants to live that way??

    I also feel as though if I’m having a sh*tty day, I want to be able to talk about it openly with my friends. Why is it that we only share the good happy moments around us? Anyway, I think it’s time we all start living in our truths a bit more. I hope that’s not derailing your original point here in your post 🙂

    • Rica Lewis
      July 20, 2016

      Not derailing at all, Charlotte. You make a good point, and I actually wrote a post on that too. Being honest about our life situations is freeing, and it also helps others in that it shows them they’re not alone in their struggles. We’re all dealing with something, of that we can be sure. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom on this topic!

  • Healthyezsweet Life
    July 21, 2016

    Have you heard of the book, “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes? There’s a part in the book where the author addresses the social media conundrum you described with your friend. It”s an awesome discussion on why we feel the need to shrink our accomplishments for fear that someone may actually think WE think we’re great. But why shouldn’t we celebrate ourselves? Why not brag? Why resort to quills? You have a very enlightened POV 🙂

    • Rica Lewis
      July 21, 2016

      I have not heard of the book, but now I’m curious! Thanks for the suggestion and your kind words, HealthyezSweet life!

  • Lori
    August 2, 2016

    “Our armor may shield us from the flaming arrows of offense, but it also keeps us from experiencing joy, compassion, and life’s simple pleasures.”

    So true!

    • Rica Lewis
      August 2, 2016

      Thanks, Lori! Glad to see you around these parts 🙂

  • Lacey
    August 18, 2016

    I love this post. It’s a good reminder to look inside ourselves before reacting!

  • Jenny
    August 18, 2016

    Such a great post! I feel like everyone these days gets offended by everything so I feel like I am walking on eggshell half the time – quite exhausting.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • Rica Lewis
      August 19, 2016

      Yes! No more egg shells! Ha ha. Thanks for sharing here, Jenny. ?

  • Crystal // Dreams, etc.
    August 19, 2016

    Yes! Society has gotten to the point where we’re so easily offended and there’s always something to be offended about. I like the idea of taking a moment to consider why we’re feeling offended by something.

    • Rica Lewis
      August 19, 2016

      I agree, Crystal. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Thanks for reading and commenting!

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