I was mad yesterday. I received some news that something was said to my son that I felt shouldn’t have been said. I prepared myself for battle. Armed with harsh words, petty insults, and witty rebuttals, I sent a nice, yet passive aggressive text requesting that these things not be said to my son. I received an immediate response agreeing not to do it anymore.
WHAT?! But you can’t just agree with me! You’ve done wrong. You need to feel my wrath! I quickly realized that I’d prepared for battle with someone who was on my team. Oh, how often this happens. Misunderstandings… Miscommunications… Unintended offenses… Opportunities to be offended that we seize and hold tightly to.
We have to stop living in battle mode.
Everyone is not against you. Everyone is not out to get you. I wonder how often misunderstandings turn into wars because the offended come out in attack mode. What if I had said what I wanted to say? What if I had unleashed a barrage of harsh words and insults onto someone who was simply having a conversation they deemed harmless? Battle surely would have ensued. Someone (possibly the very person I was trying to protect) would have been wounded. Casualty of war.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Webster defines “good sense” as “sound judgment often instinctive or unlearned,” but I disagree. “Good sense” is very much learned. Instinctively we are quick to anger. Think of the child who has his toy taken from him. He will bite, he will scratch, and he will unleash what I am convinced is a good ol’ fashion “cus out.” Instinct says, “You have offended me, and you WILL pay.” We see the memes all the time:
This is not good sense. This perspective leads to words that turn to battles that turn to wars. Good sense is learned. Good sense says:
- Calm down
- Address the issue not the person
- Everyone is not out to get you
- Because I feel offended, doesn’t mean I have to BE offended
- Pick your battles
- Let it go
Next time you are offended, I encourage you to think about those 6 things.
- Calm down: Many situations are escalated due to tone. When we are not calm, it is evident in what we say and how we say it. Take a moment to think before you dial, think before you press send, and think before you speak. Do I REALLY want to say this? And do I really want to say it like THIS?
- Address the issue not the person: Operating in defense mode causes us to go at the person, not the problem. In my situation, I have no problem with the person, I had a problem with what they said. But how often do we “go off” on a person, bringing up everything BUT the issue at hand. Stick to the problem and you will get to the solution faster.
- Everyone is not out to get you: As important as we feel that we are…. we aren’t. When the comments were made, I was the last thing on that person’s mind. As is the case when most “offenses” are committed. Not only are people not out to get you, they are often on your team. I’ve seen lifelong friendships end over a misunderstanding blown completely out of proportion.
- Because I feel offended, doesn’t mean I have to BE offended: Your feelings will lie to you. You give up your power when you allow the behavior of others to dictate how you feel. “My attitude depends on you” is operating in a powerless mode. That person becomes your puppeteer… able to make or break your day at the drop of a dime.
- Pick your battles: Let’s say you are 100% right. This person intentionally did/said something to upset you. Is it really worth being upset over? What do you gain?
Which leads to the final step: LET IT GO.