Offensive remarks from friends or random social media posts are common. Were we ignorant that our statements had injured others, especially those easily offended?
Why does offense occur? Owing to a statement or action that goes against what we expect as of right, appropriate, moral, and acceptable behavior. Offending or labeling anything as offensive is second nature to us.
While some words and behaviors may be offensive, taking offense is difficult. Linguistic studies show that people react negatively to unpleasant words for many reasons. Our speech is neither polite nor rude. Our language is neither courteous nor impolite.
A tight group of friends can use insulting language to convey solidarity without offending anyone, even those easily offended.
Why Are People Offended?
In numerous ways, people can be offended. Nevertheless, we shall discuss six of them below:
1. Sensitivity and Expectations are Reasons People are Offended
Offenses are often caused by our bad feelings. A remark, action, or statement that goes against our expectations and what we believe is morally and ethically acceptable often causes negative sensations and emotions.
Offending someone is easy when they can’t discern between their feelings and the environment they’re in. Excessive attachment to one’s opinions might lead to rejection.
This reaction is related to hypersensitivity and has many treatments. It is critical that people evaluate and comprehend their reactions to comments and different viewpoints, rather than letting their sensitivity rule them. As it is, some people are more sensitive than others.
The sensitive brains of certain people react intensely to both positive and negative stimuli. Their emotional reactions are stronger because they respond differently than we do. People in this group typically offend easily due to their sensitivity to others, oneself, or a general sense of injustice.
2. They are Anxious or Have an Anxiety Disorder
Those easily offended may also suffer from anxiety and a need to dominate their life. Being in charged is what they are more used to. As a result, they may need to control others’ reactions.
This requires the other person to recognize and possibly adjust their thinking and conduct to fit that of the aggrieved individual. Essentially, individuals need to see their version of reality as the only reality, which can assist reduce anxiety.
Having strong desire for control, are anxious, and therefore quickly offended. They generally live and work in a world where they are in charge. They think they are right and their insight into truth is accurate. Furthermore, they also have no room for other people’s ideas.
3. Due to Insecurities and Low Self-Esteem, People are Offended
Some people develop unstable attachment in childhood that lasts into adulthood. They believe people don’t respond to their needs, so they suppress or overreact. Afraid of not getting their way, they overreact. Furthermore, they become stubborn because they believe people are not there for them or are taking advantage of them.
Aggressiveness and fear are examples of insecurity showing as an offense. Insecurity manifests as aggression and fear.
On the other hand, self-esteem is the underlying worth we place on ourselves. Dissatisfied people often reflect their feelings onto others. They may misunderstand what they hear as criticism.
A person with a high sense of self-worth, on the other hand, would be able to hear the same criticism and either ignore this or take it as constructive feedback.
4. Cognitive Distortions is One Reason People Gets Offended
Consider cognitive distortions to be a sophisticated way of describing flawed or incorrect thinking. We all partake in cognitive distortions by making assumptions at times. Some people, on the other hand, indulge in activities on a regular basis, which considerably contributes to feeling insulted.
Assumptions, black and white thinking, including always/never thinking, and rushing to conclusions. These can lead to mind-reading, which are some common cognitive distortions or harmful thinking styles. Try to “assume” that the comment was not meant to be offensive.
People can learn to be less affected and offended by other people’s comments, beliefs, and opinions. That is such a liberating notion!
5. Having an Abusive or Traumatic Childhood
In some cases, people may have histories that can influence how they respond to situations. If they don’t have inside knowledge of the motive, everyone tells themselves stories about why someone said or did what they did. These stories are mostly based on experiences. One may have violated another person’s unspoken, or perhaps unconscious, standards of engagement without knowing it.
Childhood abuse is recalled differently than less stressful experiences because it is highly emotional and perceived as a threat.
They can be re-triggered even in adults. If you were excluded from activities or bullied as a child, any slight offense in adulthood may bring back those old memories.
The way out of this is to remind yourself that you don’t have to be as wounded as you were in your youth.
6. People Are Offended When There Are Poor Communications
Assertive communication is the best communication style among passive, aggressive, and passive.
When people are afraid to ask for an explanation, they may be offended by something that wasn’t meant to be. This is typical of passive communicators, who often, but not always, have low self-esteem. Their response is to internalize it. To hear criticism and not take it personally, the receiver must have a healthy sense of self or high self-esteem.
If the comment was meant to be offensive, it tells more about the speaker than the receiver. Consider the source in this circumstance.
10 Easy Steps to Stop Feeling Offended
1. Soothe your fears that you have not been insulted.
It may be as straightforward as that. Take these questions in the heat of the moment:
“What did I actually mean to conclude?
Is this really so significant?
So, what exactly is the big deal?
Take into account the following:
“How was I to determine what it truly meant?”
“Does he honestly want to hurt me?”
“So, what exactly is he trying to say?”
Remind yourself that the potential offender has the same right to his or her viewpoint as you do. They are, after all, just words. What kind of impact may words have? They’re not going to be able to break my bones or murder you.
Remember that we are often angered by what is said or done because we wrongly interpret it:
“That means he couldn’t care less!”
“She’s accusing me of being a bad person!”
“He never really cared about me”
As far as the internal interpretation is concerned. Simply reinterpret the situation. You can persuade yourself to stop by telling yourself:
“This guys is simply expressing his opinion. How impressive.”
“I believe he doesn’t mean to insult me.”
You’ll be happier if you can talk yourself out of an offense and internalize the communication philosophy of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
2. Put yourself in the position of the “offender.”
This has the extra benefit of making you less offensive to others as you develop the capacity to be “too noble to offend.”
In any case, if you can temporarily slip your feet into the offender’s position, you can begin to see things from the offender’s perspective. And perhaps, just perhaps, you will see that you, too, were a part of the drama. And perhaps you’ll discover that the offender never intended to commit an offense in the first place.
3. Assume a friendly motive.
Unless proven otherwise (you don’t want to be someone’s idiot), think the individual in question has genuine intentions. Perhaps the language was clunky, perhaps even ill-advised, but presume a good heart. That should take the sting out of the bite and bring some fun back into your day. So don’t cling to the words individuals choose to describe themselves. Hear the idea and disregard the roughness of the expression.
4. Exercise separating your views from your identity
A lot of people have trouble distinguishing between thoughts and inner self-perception.They feel pulled out, trapped, and crushed. This is, of course, hurtful, but it is absolutely false. If you wish to overcome hypersensitivity, you must recognize that your opinions do not represent you. And, without a doubt, anyone opinion or combination of opinions does not fully represent who you are. You will live a happy, fulfilled life with minimal potential to feel insulted if you can remove your views from your identity.
5. Strengthen Your Humility
When someone suspects they have offended someone, they immediately pause and assess their actions or words. That, in and of itself, is an admirable display of humility that renders one nearly impenetrable to offense. However, he did not stop there.
He continued by stating that he frequently learned that he had said something potentially inappropriate. He would next approach the injured party and express his regret for the erroneous statement or deed. Humility is an ally of inner tranquility and equanimity. And happiness’s companions are tranquility and equanimity.
6. Place a premium on truth correctness.
Those who disagree with you will be tolerated as long as you prioritize truth over discovery. This is, no matter how offensive the opposite side tries to be. You have no emotional attachment to your position. You are solely interested in the truth. As a result, disagreement with your perspective does not constitute an insult. You simply want to know the truth, even if you will never visit the source.
7. Overcome egocentrism
The “It’s-All-About-Me” mentality encourages easy offense. Every word you say, every action or inaction, everything you do or undo becomes a reflection of you. That is a big weight to carry.
It’s hardly surprising that you’re constantly upset if you focus on yourself. Remove yourself from the center of attention of everyone else. You’re probably not even there. You should not be either in the majority of circumstances.
Allow the vast bulk of life to be unconcerned about your well-being. Additionally, people have the right to express their opinions. Therefore, let them have it – joyfully.
8. Reserve your judgment
Finish the topic. Allow it to unfold naturally. We often make snap judgements, assume malicious intent, and reinterpret words, causing pain and offense. Refrain from passing judgement until the dialogue is complete. By the end, you may discover there is no offense in the first place.
9. Accept Imperfections
You will almost always be insulted if you expect others to behave and speak like you. Rather than that, allow them to be human. After all, they are.
Each of us has unique characteristics, eccentricities, and personality and character defects. Likewise, you do! Yours may simply be unique in comparison to theirs. Therefore, simply allow it to be, shrug it off, and let it roll off your back. Do not cling on the shortcomings of others to the point of strangling yourself! Release! Allow yourself to go! Breathe. Relax. To avoid magnifying a present difficulty due to an unresolved former issue, you must learn to forgive others’ flaws and build a “Forgiveness Default Setting” in your heart. It will automatically activate when confronted with unpleasant language or behavior. Bear in mind that humans are fallible. You are an ongoing project. Life is not perfect. That is completely OK! Accepting their shortcomings (and your own!) will put you on the path to a more emotionally stable and joyful life.
10. Accept yourself
Naturally, we must continue to learn, grow, and improve. Accept your current position on the journey. You couldn’t possibly be somewhere else in the circumstances. Therefore, accept oneself deeply. Appropriately validate your inner self. Consider that you are greater than your actions. Additionally, you are your potential. After all, you are on a par with God in terms of power. Each of us falls short of our own expectations. Admit that where you are today is adequate, not as a reason to stop your moral ascent.
This acceptance of oneself diminishes others’ power to insult you. It will have no effect on you because your validation does not come from their assessment of you. It originates within or from above. If you reduce everything to how it affects you, you’ll naturally be upset. Accept yourself in order to develop your inner self. And life will be a more consistent source of happiness.
We’re used to being offended. Sensitivity and expectations lead to unfavorable reactions. Anxiety and an urge to control one’s life are common in a heated environment. Offended persons have insecurities and low self-esteem. People can grow tolerant of competing views.
A difficult or abusive childhood can shape behavior. The past can affect how individuals perceive others. Unintended outcomes may offend those who are afraid to ask questions. To take criticism in stride, one must have a strong sense of self. Assertive communication beats aggressive and passive communication. Don’t listen to what others say. Solicit a friendly purpose and listen to the offender.
If you want to be happy, let others express themselves freely. Self-awareness weakens vulnerability. It won’t harm you because you didn’t approve.