Monday, March 23, 2009

Why Does This Bother Me So Much?

I just read an article about a topic that is VERY near and dear to my heart. Being that I'm in recovery for "being offended all the time by everything", any article written about the subject sounds whistles and sirens for me. This article that I found on PeerTrainer.com's blog is one of those articles. I would venture to say that it is MY FAVORITE article on the topic because of the wording and suggestions on ways to deal with "being offended". Being offended is not an easy topic to discuss, but being a christian, I believe that it is even more important NOT to be offended. To be offended means that you have given control of your emotions to someone or something else, and where does your faith go? And I love this writer's question, "Why does this bother me so much?" That is the perfect question to get your emotions back in check. Your emotions are only to be a gauge for your spirit... not take it over. Understanding that everyone is connected and we all want the same thing in life (that is to feel good and feel loved) helps me to overcome momentary offense. It's hard though, don't get me wrong. The reality is that there are people in this world that associate the "feeling good and feeling loved" with being offended because then everyone around them tries to take the offense away making them feel important, good and loved. The only way to break that cycle is to not get offended yourself and move on. Their offense is not your problem. If you were wrong, apologize, and mean it. Then move on. I recently blasted an email discussing the topic of immigration in the US. It was an email composed by someone else that I forwarded. Of everyone I sent it to, there was one who got offended and felt the need to express their offense to me. Instead of respecting me as a person who may (or may not) have a differing opinion, she felt the need to berate me. Well, being that I work very hard to not be offended, I thanked her for her message, told her that offending her was not my intent; I would make sure she was not part of my future blasts and stated that it was just a differing opinion. No matter where one may stand on this issue, we ALL are descendants of immigrants if we are American, however, the reality that immigration issues in the US are being handled quite a bit differently than they ever were when past ancestors arrived is cause for open discussion as friends and that I was hoping her intent was not to just be offended. I left it at that, removed her from my email address book and moved on. Truth be told, the second I opened the email and read the first two lines, the blood rushed to my head (you know that tingley feeling you get when you know you are going to deal with a conflict) and for the briefest of seconds I was offended. That's where the "moving on" part comes into play. But the piece that I've always missed, the piece that should come before moving on, is the simplest of questions. "Why Does This Bother Me So Much?" If the answer is, "because the other person's bothered," then you are taking something that doesn't belong to you. You're taking on that person's issue. You do, however, owe it to the other person to express your intentions in whatever you said or did... apologize even, but then you owe it to yourself to move on. And don't be afraid to apologize. Romans 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." It is amazing how a meaningful apology can defuse a situation. And if it can't, moving on is the best thing you can do to keep the peace.

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