How Not to Be Offended

Nov 22, 2021

The Things They Say

When you begin your caregiving journey, whether the change is sudden and rough or gradual and gentle, people in your life will have ideas and opinions that might not always feel supportive.

They might

  • think you’re in over your head.
  • wonder whether you’re capable.
  • feel like you’re abandoning them as you take on new tasks.
  • question your judgment.
  • try to advise you about things they know nothing about. 
  • want to solve your problem when you confide in them. 
  • worry that you’re going to lose yourself . . or that they’ll lose you

A tip to get you through all of that: What other people think or say about you doesn’t affect you unless you believe them.

Believing in Yourself

This is fabulous news, and it changes everything. People can think and say whatever they want about you, and you don’t have to "have a thick skin" or “not take it personally” if you don’t believe them. 

The only time you have to resist crying or getting angry is when a part of you that’s critical of yourself gives them the power to tell you how to feel.

YOU get to decide if it bothers you by simply looking at your own beliefs about you.

You take charge of how you feel. You can stop being a victim and have the confidence to be yourself. Words are only offensive if you agree with them. I know this can be challenging to understand.

How to Choose

You are in charge of your caregiving experience and no one else gets to decide what you do with it, or how you feel along the way. Even God has given you agency to choose what you want to think and do.

Write down something someone has said that annoyed you. It could be something a stranger, family member, friend, or a loved one you care for said, or something you heard or read on Facebook or other social site.

Now write down your belief about what they said, then the emotion you felt. Maybe it made you sad, worried, defensive, or discouraged.

For example, if you get upset because someone says they doubt you'll follow through with something, the only reason you'd be upset is because you agree or believe you won’t follow through.

If you know you're reliable and will follow through, that person’s comment is laughable, not offensive.

Now, explore why you aren't laughing. Why was the comment offensive? Why don't you believe I'll follow through? Is that even true? (Our brains are good at believing things that aren't true just because we read or heard them).

If it's true that you aren't terribly reliable, is this an area you want to improve? How can you start following through? What's stopping you from following through? Why does it bother you that you don't follow through? 

There are no right or wrong answers, just things be curious about it and notice your beliefs and ideas. 

Feel How You Want

If you get upset because your loved one or a provider thinks you're weird, the only reason you're upset is because you believe you're weird. Now ask yourself why it upsets you. Do you think  being "weird" is a bad thing? What even is weird?

Do you agree with the other person's definition of weird? Maybe you think they're weird. Could you be happy or proud or content that you're different?

Sometimes I look at people around me and I’m thankful they think I’m weird.

If someone tells you you’re an alien from another galaxy that plans to destroy the Earth, would you be offended, or would you think they're a bit off?

Once you get clear on your own thoughts and beliefs, what other people think or say won't bother you. It will be like someone announcing that they prefer chunky peanut butter. Great! That means there’ll be plenty of creamy on the shelf for you.

This is an incredible tool to expose the truth about what bothers you about what other people say. It’s easier than trying to “not take it personally,” when it’s still very personal because you haven't figured out what's true about yourself or what you are critical of in yourself.

It certainly clears things up and empowers you along the way when you know how you see yourself, and when that view is free of meanness, criticism, and judgment.

Be your own best friend. That's how to not be offended!

 

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