Switch to Accessible Site
TransformationStarts With You
Woman Being Free

The Art of Not Being Offended

The Art of Not Being Offended
There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones
have known for centuries. They rarely talk about it, but they use it all the time, and
it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called 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. Usually, it has more to do with all the other times, and in particular the
first few times, that this person experienced a similar situation, usually when they
were young. Yes, this is psychodynamic. But let’s face it, we live in a world where
psychodynamics are what make the world go around. An individual who wishes to
live successfully in the world as a spiritual person really needs to understand that
psychology is as spiritual as prayer. In fact, the word psychology literally means the
study of the soul.
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. We do
not even have to say a thing. In fact, it is usually better not to say a thing. People
who are suffering on the inside, but not showing it on the outside, are usually not
keen on someone pointing out to them that they are suffering. We do not have to
be our loved one’s therapist. We need only understand the situation and move on.
In the least, we ourselves experience less suffering and at best, we have a chance
to make the world a better place.
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. Many of
the seeming abusers of the world start to leave our lives. Once we are conscious,
so-called abuse can only happen if we believe what the other is saying. When
we know nothing is personal, we also do not end up feeling abused. We can say,
“Thank you for sharing,” and move on. We are not hooked by what another does
or says, since we know it is not about us. When we know that our inherent worth
is not determined by what another says, does or believes, we can take the world a
little less seriously. And if necessary, we can just walk away without creating more
misery for ourselves or having to convince the other person that we are good and
worthy people.
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 for being a practical mystic. Though it may take a lifetime
of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life.

              © Shemsi Prinzivalli  www.shemsprinzivalli.com
      ©  Shemsi Prinzivalli 2020 Please do not reprint this article online or in hard copy without the express permission of Dr. Shemsi Prinzivalli - shems.prinzivalli@gmail.com