I’ve never before called in to a radio station to share my point of view but today the topic was so compelling I just had to add my 2 cents.
The DJ said once when he was at a mandatory staff meeting his boss said, ‘You can only be offended if you choose to be offended.’
“I just can’t wrap my head around that,” the DJ said. He invited callers to voice their opinions and I couldn’t wait.
Is “Being Offended” a Choice?
When something someone says “triggers you,” and you feel offended, it is not a choice at all but a reaction.
Your reactions come from your belief systems, thinking, and programming. The good news is that when you notice the feeling of being offended, this is the opportunity to then make a choice. The feeling of being offended is not the choice. The opportunity to change your thinking or your response is the choice.
In order for choice to take place, one must first have AWARENESS. Being aware of the feeling is the first piece. If you react again and again to the same thing, this means you are “unconscious” and in a state of reaction. (Most of us live our lives unconsciously. We have not examined our beliefs or our feelings. We simply respond to the circumstances and people around us. )
Once you notice your feeling, THEN you can decide how to respond. Once you know how to respond, you can realign and reinvent a new way of “being” when the opportunity presents itself.
Do you confront immediately? Do you stay silent? Do you laugh along with the offender?
You may need to experiment with various options. Most of us have certain defense mechanisms that also are reactions instead of conscious choices.
For example, (I used this one on the radio show) let’s say you know that I’m not very good at directions…north, south, east and west. Let’s say that I’m also very sensitive about it and you know this about me. Suppose we are in the midst of a group of friends and I am late and you can tell that I’m embarrassed. You think it would be funny to say, “Hey what happened, did you get lost in traffic?” then you make a few jokes about me and everyone laughs. I feel offended and angry that you made a joke at my expense.
My “being offended” only comes because I am sensitive and I perceive that you are making fun of me. In your mind, you may just be teasing and you don’t think any less of me because of my directional challenges.
Unless I am able to quit judging myself, so that I’m no longer offended by the joke…or unless I am willing to let you know that I don’t like what you are doing, you will continue to make these kinds of jokes and I will continue to suffer.
There is a tiny space between our perception of a circumstance and our response to it. The magic is in developing that sensitivity to become aware so that we do indeed have choices to either change our thinking or change our automatic responses.
So, it is in our awareness of being offended that we get the OPPORTUNITY to choose. The choice is never there until awareness comes.