I began writing 5 easy steps to being un-offendable when I realized that I don’t believe in steps. They’re formulas and formulas are an act of striving to change ourselves using our own minuscule power. It’s extremely hard work and seldom succeeds.
So, I scrapped most of what I wrote and voted for telling you the story of the first time I decided to stop being offended.
It happened when Hunny and I were dating and we had a fight because he said something that offended me. It was happening frequently because he’s an outspoken man and rarely beats around the bush.
But this time he said, “Look, this isn’t going to work if you keep getting offended. First off, I’m not going to change. This is who I am. And this is how I talk. I love you and you can believe that or not. It’s your choice. But you can’t manipulate me. So, figure it out because this won’t work.”
I was offended again! But he’d said it in a gentle way with sincerity and honesty. I couldn’t mistake it.
So, I took it to heart and considered it. How was I not going to be offended? It’s not natural, is it?
He said I should believe he loved me. But I was actually believing he disrespected me, and that he was a jerk. And was he? Really?
It took a few minutes of stark honesty with myself to conclude that he wasn’t actually a jerk. I just didn’t like the way he said things to me sometimes. Yes, there was another way to take what he’d said. If I chose to. But I’d chosen to be offended.
So, he was right. I was trying to change the way he expressed himself. And I wasn’t accepting him as he was.
Therefore, I decided to give it a try next time and see if I could understand him rather than be offended.
Let me explain that Hunny is a bit on the rough and tough side. He fits in comfortably on any construction site, or in any neighborhood bar. And I have to admit, it’s, well, … a part of him I really like.
I don’t want to change it. So, if I succeeded in making him talk properly with genial eloquence, he wouldn’t be the same. Besides, if I’d wanted a man like that, I could have found one already like that instead of changing one who wasn’t.
Anyhow, the next time he began talking, I began listening intently. And I found it enlightening. He’s actually a very sensitive man, and his love runs very deep. His lip quivers when he talks about his Grandma and he’s loyal to the end. I’ve also discovered he’s over-the-top unconditionally supportive of someone he loves.
But people don’t know these things about him unless they pay attention and listen closely. It doesn’t come out in flowery words and tender sentences. It’s in his glance, or wince, and that quiver of his bottom lip that his heart speaks.
So, I began hearing what he was saying through the filter of that knowledge.
Offense didn’t stop rising up in me right away. But when it did rise, I’d wait a minute before I spoke. And I’d analyze the thoughts going through my mind. Was it truth or not?
Most of the time it wasn’t. However, offense doesn’t die easily. So, we went through negotiations. I’d present a different word in exchange for the one he liked. And he’d laugh.
I was manipulating him again. And I discovered that offense was often a bad habit to unlearn.
But, becoming un-offendable had rewards too. I was free to say whatever I needed to say. I never had to hesitate and wonder if Hunny would be offended. And if I fumbled and used the wrong words, Hunny still understood me. That’s because he understands my intent.
Granted, it takes relationship and there were still some misunderstandings because we define words differently. But I’m not instantly offended. So, I can process those differences better. I can ask him, what that word means to him. And then accept his intent.
Anyway, I think for the most part we live un-offended. And it’s an easier way to live. It’s like assuming the best of people even if they’re in a bad mood and behaving badly. I know it’s not what they intended. And because I believe that, chances are pretty good that I can talk to them without offense and pass on some love.
That’s at the bottom of it, you know. It’s love. And it believes the best of everyone.
Thanks for joining me on my journey, once again. Sending blessings with you on yours.