These days it seems that people are easily offended. If you have an opinion different from theirs, they instantly get defensive and go on the attack. There is no room for respectful discussion, or even agreeing to disagree.
If you are one of these folks, it might be that you are choosing to take things personally and be offended, instead of respectfully allowing the other person to have an opinion.
In today’s episode of Your Personal Power Pod, we talk about being easily offended, what causes it and what you can do about it.
We want to hear from you, whether it’s your stories about how self-esteem and personal power affect your life, or topics you’d like us to address in future episodes. We’d love for you to review our podcast. Do this on your streaming service or visit www.yourpersonalpowerpod.com , click Contact and drop us an email. You can also find us on Instagram at Your Personal Power Pod.
Also, if you’d like to make changes in your personal or business life, spending time with a coach can make all the difference. Sandy is offering a free consultation, so contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and put COACHING in the subject line to schedule a free call.
Thank you for listening to Your Personal Power Pod. We look forward to hearing from you.
And, until next time, find your power and change your life!
[00:00:00] Shannon: Welcome to Your Personal Power Pod, a podcast about aligning yourself with the life you want. And here are your hosts, Sandy Abel and Shannon Young
[00:00:20] Shannon. It's another gorgeous day. I think we've gone from winter to summer. We skipped spring, but it's pretty. How are you today? I will, thank you. I'm experiencing a little bit of season shock. Yes, right. It happened literally overnight. We went from cold and snow and temperatures in the forties, two temperatures in the nineties, and the heat index off the charts.
[00:00:45] Like it's nuts. I know. It's never boring around here. That is true. Well, I know you like summer. Yes, I like warm summer evenings. Yes. They're the best. With a nice little breeze. Oh, that's just spectacular. I do too. But mosquitoes [00:01:00] and mosquitoes love me. Really. And it is not reciprocal. Well, we'll have to get you some mosquito repellent or something.
[00:01:10] Something to distract them. I just need some kind of a garment. Made out a netting. That's what I need. There you go. I think they have those out there in the world probably. Yeah. So what are we talking about today? Well, it seemed to me like people are easily offended these days if you have an opinion different from theirs.
[00:01:29] Yes. They instantly get defensive and go on the attack. There doesn't seem to be room for respectful discussion or disagreeing. I just don't understand it. So I looked into it and thought we might wanna talk about it. I like that. I think you are correct. It's quite a timely subject, and I'm not sure when it became the case that everybody's opinion has the same value.
[00:01:53] Yeah. All the time. I'm not even sure when it became a thing that everybody feels like they need to express their [00:02:00] opinion. I don't get that. I don't know if it's because social media or phones just so handy to be able to express your opinion anywhere, anytime. Mm-hmm. I didn't use to be able to do that.
[00:02:10] You'd had to look somebody in the eye in order to do it, and now you can just. Put it out there and say, if you don't like it, too bad for you and you're a bad person, and there's no room for anybody else to have an opinion. Exactly. Like if I wanna express my opinion and you don't want me to, well, everybody's opinion matters, so I get to say it.
[00:02:28] But if you wanna express yours, you don't get to, you just have to listen to me and agree with me and be awed by my wisdom. Right. Or lack thereof. Even if it's something where you are educated in and the other person isn't, they still think they know better. It's very weird. So we're gonna talk about, it's very weird about that today.
[00:02:45] Okay, let's do it. So where does that feeling of offense come from? Well, feeling offended is an emotional reaction of a perceived slight, or lack of respect. Mm-hmm. Of where you choose to feel attacked and take it personally. And it is a choice. [00:03:00] If you feel you're being disrespected or ignored or made fun of, you might feel offended.
[00:03:05] People who feel offended are often insecure or hypersensitive and have low self-esteem. Mm. So when you're being challenged, you might get defensive and fight back to preserve your self-image, which is sad. You don't have to be right all the time to love yourself or have other people like you. Actually, it's exhausting too.
[00:03:27] Choosing to be offended. Yes, very much so. I do know a couple of people who like to live in that space, who like to take everything personally. Yeah. I'm not sure why they choose to live that way. It's very uncomfortable and not fun to be around and just not healthy. Right. It's like they walk around with a chip on their shoulder and they're just defensive all the time.
[00:03:48] They're looking for things to be offended by. So here's a test to see if you are an easily offended person. Great. Do you often take things personally or do you explode in fits of anger over little things? [00:04:00] Is your sense of self closely tied to your opinions and others agreeing with them? Do others say you make mountains, atole hills?
[00:04:08] Do you frequently take things the way they were not intended? Do you feel judged or rejected when someone doesn't agree with you? Do others feel they have to walk on eggshells around you, kinda like you probably do with your friends? Mm-hmm. And do people consider you high maintenance? Yeah, if we had all the time in the world, I would institute some kind of a study that looked at the past 10, 15, 20 years and documented the things that happened and the inventions that were put out there, and just try to hone in on what was the recipe that made this societal.
[00:04:47] Offense. So much more prevalent. Yeah, that would be fascinating. You go for it. You do that study. Yeah, I, I'm not sure I understand why it is that people wanna fight rather than [00:05:00] talk about differences and maybe learn from each other. But I think a big part of it is that a lot of people aren't just being taught how to handle conflict.
[00:05:08] I think that's very true. So I saw an interesting thing on Steve Hartman where he was profiling a 14 year old boy who was on the bus going home from school with all his colleagues, friends, classmates. He noticed that the bus driver was having some kind of medical emergency and, and wasn't able to hold onto the wheel and was starting to slump.
[00:05:28] And so he ran up and yelled to his friends, call 9 1 1. He grabbed the wheel, he stopped the bus, and he basically saved everybody. Mm-hmm. First of all, he asked all the other kids in the bus, did you notice what was going on? And they all said, no. I was on my phone. No, I was playing a game. Situational awareness isn't around anymore.
[00:05:49] Mm-hmm. Then he asked the 14 year old who was the hero. He said, I don't have a phone. Really? So he was paying attention. He said, my parents won't let me have a [00:06:00] phone. So he pays attention to life. He sees what's going on. And I think a lot of people haven't learned because they're on their phones all the time.
[00:06:10] They just believe what they see on their phone and expect it to be true. And they don't have situational awareness. They don't see each other. They don't look around. And so if somebody challenges what they saw on their phone, they say, well, no, that influencer says this, so it's gotta be right. So you're wrong.
[00:06:27] They've not learned to interact and be aware. Yeah, they don't see other people literally and figuratively, and it's really sad. I imagine that boy's life is more difficult because he doesn't have a phone, but he's also much more aware and in tune with his life. And with the people in it, he's probably happier too.
[00:06:46] The thing about having every piece of information in the universe available to you 24 hours a day in your pocket, is that you can easily reinforce whatever beliefs and opinions you already have. Exactly. So you're not [00:07:00] being confronted with information that might challenge you. Anything you want to support your argument is right there.
[00:07:06] Right? So we're not having to deal with situations that don't fit into our paradigm. We can make a, an entire world that fits our paradigm, whether it's accurate or not. If you just change the channel, you'll find another opinion. Mm-hmm. But you never change the channel or never listen to anybody different.
[00:07:22] So you just assume that what you know is the absolute truth and everybody else is stupid if they don't believe it. For some reason, we haven't learned to deal with minor conflicts or differences of opinion. Our culture seems to support being hypersensitive, which is very weird. We're not taught, and I'm not sure where that got lost in the household.
[00:07:44] Yeah, because it seems like that that's where conflict resolution starts, but I know a lot of parents who spend their life on their phone, so they're not engaging with their kids. It also used to be, And this is not an all an argument that the good old days have passed. It was just that [00:08:00] people had to work together in the past, right?
[00:08:02] They had to see each other and actually listen to each other to get things done. And we needed each other. Yes. You couldn't just push a button and order everything you ever needed to come to your house. You needed to actually talk to people, go somewhere, physically interact with life in order to get what you needed, and you don't really need to do that anymore.
[00:08:22] And we also used to watch. Our lawmakers and our diplomats. Oh yes. People who were running things had to work together. And now the strategy seems to be we're in the majority so we get what we want regardless. And screw the rest of you. Right. Exactly. And that's not at all how conflict resolution works and our country's paying the price for it.
[00:08:43] Yeah. Everybody's put in a little box. If you say, oh, well he's a democrat. Everybody goes, oh, well, yeah, okay. That's what, and they think they know who he is. Mm-hmm. Or he's a Republican. Oh, well sure that's it. And they don't take time to find out what the person really [00:09:00] thinks. They just lump him in a box with all the other people who have the same organization behind them.
[00:09:06] Anyway, we're ranting here. But everybody seems to be very hypersensitive. If you're easily offended. It can have a profound effect on your mental and physical wellbeing. Mm-hmm. And your sense of self-worth. It's not a great choice to make. It can also lead to. Conflict with others relationship issues, and people will often choose to avoid you.
[00:09:29] Like you said, you have some people in your life who choose to find the negative and always argue. And I'll bet you don't spend a lot of time with those folks. No, they're not a whole lot of fun to be with. And I have noticed that it's kind of a slippery slope because it seems to be kind of chic to be a victim these days and people get attention for it.
[00:09:46] Oh, I understand. And if you start going down that road, it perpetuates itself. And you will find more of it in your life, and you'll find more reason to be offended, and you'll start losing the skills that allow you to be [00:10:00] compassionate and to see other people. And eventually you're just kind of stuck there.
[00:10:03] Yeah. It's really hard to get out of, your relationships are filled with stress and people avoid you, and it could impact your work at work. You're like, oh, this'll never work. We're not gonna do this. You could get yourself fired. If you're like that. Mm-hmm. Or your spouse may wanna leave, you know, I can't open my mouth and talk to you about our relationship at all without you getting offended, which means we make no progress, which means we can't have a relationship because a relationship involves two people interacting and respecting and listening to each other and growing.
[00:10:36] And it's about respect. We've talked about respect before, and there is no respect. If people are easily offended. Yeah. Interesting way to put it. I think the biggest takeaway out of our entire conversation today is that it's definitely a choice. Yes. If somebody says something that makes you go, oh, how dare you?
[00:10:55] You know what? Take a second. Take a breather. Chances are it's really not [00:11:00] about you. It may be about a philosophy you have. It may be about someone you love, but really it's mostly about the person who said or did whatever it was that offended you. Right? People tend to make things about themselves these days also.
[00:11:15] Yes. They don't say, well, that's your opinion and I have mine and let's still be friends. They say, well, if you have that opinion, we can't be friends. I was like, whoa, wait. So it's also good to look at things from the perspective of the other person. Are they being deliberately offensive or are they just sharing their thoughts?
[00:11:36] If they're being deliberately offensive, why? What's going on behind that? Is it fear? Is it pain? Is it anger? Sometimes it's just that nobody's bothered to listen to that person, and sometimes all people need is to feel heard. Yeah. That is so true because people don't listen to each other very well these days.
[00:11:52] That's another skill that's kind of shaky for lots of people. And did they mean to offend you? Yeah. Right. It may just be that [00:12:00] they're like, Hey, here's why I think this, here's where I coming from. That's very different from them saying what you think is wrong. That's acknowledging that, hey, I've had a different experience and so I see things differently.
[00:12:12] Exactly. Cuz we all come from where we come from. One person may have experienced one thing and the other person may have an opinion about that, but not experienced it. I've often referred to on our conversations, the two Supreme Court justices, uh, Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who disagreed on just about everything as far as the law goes and, uh, cases they had, but they were the best of friends.
[00:12:37] Because they respected the fact that they each had the right to have an opinion. And when they were making a decision on a case, they did their thing, but outside of the courtroom, they got along great. Mm-hmm. And they were able to separate that. And I wish people could do that. Yeah. It takes a certain muscle to get yourself out of that pattern of thinking.
[00:12:57] Yeah, you have to ask yourself if it'll help or hurt. [00:13:00] If you choose to get offended, then how can you turn the situation around? What can you do to make it different? First, don't assume that that person is purposely doing or saying things to get to you, right? Absolutely. You have to give people the benefit of the doubt and identify if they're trying to be offensive or just sharing a thought.
[00:13:17] Mm-hmm. And this is key here, because you can't move forward if you're choosing to be offended. You're basically backing yourself into a corner. If you can say, yeah. Oh, I think they're just sharing where they're coming from. Then maybe we can learn from each other. That's one thing. But if you identify that this person is deliberately being mean or rude or disrespectful, well then maybe you wanna make some different decisions about hanging out with that person, right?
[00:13:40] But you can't make either of those distinctions if you just choose to get offended. Right, exactly. Cuz that just stops everything. Uhhuh understand that being offended doesn't really equal harm unless you choose to let it harm you. Harm is being physically hit or somebody does something and you lose your job.
[00:13:58] That kind of thing. But just [00:14:00] somebody sharing a thought is not really hurting you unless you choose to internalize it. So we're back to, it's your choice and there is a big difference between somebody being offensive and somebody being abusive. Oh yes, yes, absolutely. Total difference. Learn to identify which is which, because it's really easy to get offended by the guy in the office who's telling sexual off-color jokes all day long, and he probably shouldn't be doing that.
[00:14:26] Saying, yeah, this offends me, but it is also completely and totally inappropriate. So figure out what it is that made you feel that way. Yeah, why are you upset? And then also understand that people aren't mind readers if you get upset about something they've said. They may not even know that they've offended you.
[00:14:44] I've shared with you and our listeners about situations I've been in where I've said something I had no idea. Offended other people. Mm-hmm. And instead of talking to me about it or coming to me later and saying, Hey, you know, I really had an issue [00:15:00] with that, they just cut me out of their life. That's pretty dramatic response.
[00:15:04] Yeah. To somebody sharing a thought that isn't even directly directed at a person. My boss has a interesting blurb in our employee manual. Our policy is that if you have a problem with another person, that other person is at the very most. The second one to hear about it, he says, sometimes you need to talk to another coworker or another friend to figure out how to approach whatever the issue is.
[00:15:28] But from there, the next person you talk to is the person you have the trouble with. There will be no talking behind people's back in this company. Excellent. No gossip. That's in our employee manual. Isn't that great? Yeah. Wow. He's a wise guy. We work too closely together. You know, it's just Right. Yeah. If you get that kind of friction and then rupture going on in your ranks, then you can't have a cohesive company.
[00:15:53] Absolutely. And it's brilliant of him to put it in the manual and make sure everybody understands it and [00:16:00] has to live it. If you can talk things out and actually hear each other, you can solve about anything. Both people have to want to do that, and a lot of people don't. They just wanna spout their thoughts and lay them on people and expect everybody to go, oh wow, that's really cool.
[00:16:17] If that doesn't happen, they don't know how to handle it. And then they're easily offended and it allows you to keep thinking the way you've always thought. You don't have to grow at all if you just say, oh, you can't say things like that to me. Well, then all you've done is reinforce your opinion, which may or may not be accurate and potentially lose a decent relationship.
[00:16:37] Yeah. So you can make the choice to let it go. You always have the choice. People forget that, you know, they say, oh, I feel this way. This is it. Well, your feelings come from your thoughts, and for a nanosecond, you thought that this person is attacking you. Don't assume that what they're saying is about you, unless they specifically state that they're talking about you, which very few people do, it's most likely not [00:17:00] meant to be personal.
[00:17:01] So understand that. And even if it is, when you choose to be offended, you give away your power. Exactly. You say, I am at the mercy of whatever anybody else thinks or says. That's no place to live. Oh heck no. Heck no. You just get jerked all over the map. Right. Even in the face of somebody deliberately saying, Hey, this is about you and here's a horrible thing I have to say to you.
[00:17:26] You can be like, oh wow. I'm really sorry that you have that in you, but you don't have to pick it up and run with it, right? You don't have to get all wounded and you don't have to fight back, and you don't have to do anything. You can say, wow, thank you for telling me what you think. I appreciate that.
[00:17:41] Seems like we have a difference of opinion, right? So let's just go with that. Yeah. And then move on. Agree to disagree. Oh, I love that. Yes. Discuss it or let it go, but don't hang onto it. That is crazy, right? I know I've used this quote before, but I love it. [00:18:00] Eleanor Roosevelt, who was a brilliant woman, said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
[00:18:06] And no one can offend you without your consent. Yeah, so why choose it? Always remember that if you are offended, it is a choice and it hurts you in many ways, and you always have the power to choose your response and take care of yourself. I love it. Yes, and I hope people can start finding their joy and appreciating each other and actually listening to each other.
[00:18:29] Sometimes people may have beliefs that you don't agree with, but it can be fascinating to learn about them as long as you don't get upset. I would argue most people have different thoughts about things than you do. Yes, of course. They may not be greatly different, but they're probably different. Yeah, they're not you.
[00:18:48] Right. And if that's the norm, There's probably a reason for that. Yeah. We all have different experience. We all can learn from each other's experience. And it doesn't mean [00:19:00] anything negative about you if somebody has a different philosophy. Absolutely. So the next time you find yourself starting to feel offended and wanting to fight back or whatever, stop and look at yourself and say, wait a minute, is this even about me?
[00:19:15] Is it important that I interject my opinion into all of this? Exactly. Is it gonna matter? Yeah. Other person won't listen. Take care of your physical and mental and emotional health and don't get offended. Huh? Amen. Awesome. Wrap us up, Sandy. Okay, so feeling offended is an emotional reaction to a perceived slight or lack of respect in which you take comments from others personally.
[00:19:40] People who are easily offended are often insecure, hypersensitive, and have low self-esteem. If you're easily offended, it can have negative effects on your physical and mental wellbeing, your relationships and your sense of self-worth. Having hurt feelings or being offended is always a choice. If you feel offended, there's [00:20:00] several things you can do, including taking a couple deep breaths, asking yourself if the comment was really meant to offend you or was the other person just sharing an opinion.
[00:20:10] There are also many things you can do to change your perspective, so you stop assuming that people are attacking or being disrespectful when they share opinions. Remember that choosing to be offended hurts you and others in many ways. And you always have a choice about how to perceive and respond to what people say.
[00:20:28] And that is always where your power is, where you have a choice. Yes. So remember you have it. Thank you, Sandy. Thank you Shannon. And thank you to our listeners for being with us. We wanna hear from you. Whether it's your stories about how self-esteem and personal power affect your life, or if you have topics you'd like us to address in future episodes, please let us know about them.
[00:20:48] We would also love it if you would review our podcast, and you can do that wherever you stream. Or you can just talk to us directly by visiting your personal power pod.com, clicking contact, and dropping us an email. You can also get in touch with [00:21:00] us on Instagram where you can find us at your personal power podd.
[00:21:03] And if you wanna learn how coaching can change your life, Contact Sandy for your free coaching call at Sandy inside jobs coach.com. Thank you again for listening. We look forward to hearing from you. And until next time, find your power and change your life.