Where do you draw the line – do you choose to take offence to bad comments or actions, or do you allow these experiences to wash over you and build your character?

Just as you encounter beautiful people who seem to be on the same page as you, there will always be a steady stream of willing candidates to help you see how well prepared you are to respond to adversity.

If people say the wrong thing and it offends you, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to speak up, argue perhaps; at least, stand your ground to empower yourself, or maybe boost your ego.  But, who knows how long it will take you to get over it – years maybe or never perhaps!  It is just not worth the damage.

There is a very quick and painless alternative

If you take the opposite approach you will save time, feel better and remain forever immune to anything that is being hurled your way.  It just takes a little mindfulness practice – as a state of being – well before anything happens to you.

(This is experience talking having been born into a family of eight.  I’ve had to learn this lesson over many times but I’m quite sure I’ve got it down pat now.  Family will put you to the ultimate test and character-build you very quickly along the way! )

Someone else’s crap is not your crap

There is one thing for sure – we should never accept things just because they are aimed at us.   The simple reason is — it never belonged to you in the first place.   It will belong to you only if and when you take it in willingly and accept it as yours. 

Herein lies your power of choice.

Be prepared – don’t waste your valuable time

We can choose whatever we want to get out of any exchange with people, but so that we don’t waste time on heartache, including a little churning-over-meaningless-words, we need to get ourselves a little prepared beforeour next big encounter happens.

In the book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz shares with us ancient Toltec wisdom that says the following:

1.  Be impeccable with your word.
2.  Don’t take anything personally.
3.  Don’t make assumptions.
4.  Always do your best.

This offers us a very simple non-harmful way to live.  It is a reminder that it is in our power to:

1.  Control what we do and think.
2.  Interpret what we hear.
3.  But, accept that we have no idea the true meaning behind anything.

The world is filled with things that we don’t know.  So it is pointless to take things personally – we are in control of much less than half of the equation at best.

Behind an offensive comment is a life time of good and bad experience, but you are getting the other person’s bad experiences amplified through their interpretation of their reality, not yours. 

It is personal only to the one delivering the offence;

and……misery needs company.

Rise above everything

If we want the best life possible then we have to bring into our lives all the best influences.  If we dwell on other people’s negatives we take away the available space for love and loving things to reach us- our cup will literally be full of other peoples spill over crap from their full cups.  No thank you!

It is a two way street of respect

“Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you. I’ll not willingly offend, nor be easily offended.” Bruce Lee

There are lots of things in life that are certain.  Trouble is one of them – it is part of the flow of life. What we have to strive for is to make sure that we don’t get offended and with this, willingly block our flow at the same time.  We want our flow to attract only positive things like love, joy, abundance and success.

Getting offended is holding onto to negative emotion.  Our bodies are good at interpreting these at an unconscious cellular level – holding onto them forever, and working against us for that long too!

Keeping our flow means that things are working out for us.  Reacting out of offence will block this every time.

So we have to get ahead of this pattern before it happens and establish a routine reaction to things so they bounce off you and never get under your skin.

At the same time, it has to be said, we cannot go around offending people intentionally either.  This will also block your flow as it is not loving to others and therefore not loving to you.

(You are off the hook if you do not intend to offend, but, by your actions being misinterpreted, this is the result.  We can only do our best!  I’m sure you know what I mean!)

Ok, what is the plan?

Firstly, look at what you may have done.  If you can see that you could rectify the situation, then do this, if not, forgive that person for not knowing better, and forgive yourself for any reason that may have prompted the offender.  Let it go.

No one can make you choose to take everything that happens to you personally.  It is not your problem. It is their problem so don’t take ownership just because it is being handed to you. 

The offender is the one that has already made it personal.  It is your job to stop it there.  Let them keep it as theirs, and bring in your imagination and try a couple of things in meditation like:

  1. Imagine it as a package and send it back to them.
  2. Imagine that you are a translucent cloud and things are just passing through you — as you are not solid – nothing can get stuck with you.
  3. Take a deep breathe and as you briskly breathe out, imagine that you are blowing it out.
  4. Imagine that you are peeling it off your skin, like an excess layer and tossing it into the garbage bin.

Kindness speaks the loudest

As far as I see it, our rights stop at the point where the rights of others start.  U
nderstanding where the line is should be obvious to most of us, it is just that we don’t always see or hear how we talk to others.  As much as we don’t like being offended we have to make sure we don’t offend.  If you think about any time you talk to some one – ask yourself, am I being kind? It is difficult to offend with thoughts of kindness.

We all have to hold our power

If we are on the receiving end, by never getting offended, we hold the keys to our personal power, regardless of what is said to you.

If you are dishing it out, there is power in your words, so make them impeccable.

Taking offence turns into life’s blocks

We often go about life not realizing that a lot of our problems or blocks in life come from the way we interpret what is happening around us.

We have a choice to decide at that moment. Ask yourself, do I attach myself to someone’s comments or actions, or do I let them pass me by?  Do I really care?

The value is in the moment, not leaving it for later but dealing with it now. 

As we are emotionally involved in our own story, we will usually have trouble moving through something that hits a nerve, however the interesting thing is that if we were standing by and giving ourselves some advice, it would be to let it go, understand that it is the other person’s problem and put it down to experience and character building.

But how do I stand up for myself?

It is not good enough to say that you have to match the rudeness of others so that you are being heard.  A loving person will also be heard, remembered and respected.

Taking offence is not part of standing-up-for-yourself.

It will instead disempower you in an instant.

Get doing what defines you

Don’t waste time on crap and people who are not respecting you.  By reacting without offence you will:

  1. Stay clear headed in your responses.
  2. Make better choices as to who you spend time with.
  3. Give that other person a take-away lesson that may change the way they speak to the next person.  How we behave is affecting people we don’t ever meet.

In the end everything can be converted by you to a positive, it is up to how you see things.  It is all character building for you as long as you make sure you are not carrying and passing on the weight of someone else’s emotional garbage.

Your choice is to take every experience as an opportunity to shine your best self through adversity; grow stronger and more compassionate; and build that character you want to see in others.

Any thoughts on this?…. i’d love to hear your experiences too!

post by: Lynette de la Vega, co-founder of Passion Projects, author of “the Love Codes” (coming soon).