Sometimes I practice this skill when I have a particularly bad day. You know the kind of day: you are feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed. That is the perfect setting for really perfecting this skill. It is one of those days when you are feeling insecure and you just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. Pick a day just like that, and practice these steps. You will find it is so simple that it will just be downhill from there. Literally.
1. Be overly sensitive. When someone makes a flippant or ignorant remark, take it personally. Try to misunderstand what they are saying. Remember that most people are out to get you, and really don’t care about your feelings, thoughts, or opinions. Make sure that you analyze everything that they said, especially when you are tired, worn-out, and stressed.
2. Constantly compare. Pick out your weaknesses. You know which ones. They are those things that make you feel like a failure; those things that make you want to give up and stop trying. Pick those things and then compare them to your neighbor who is perfectly dressed, up at 6 am, and exercises daily. Focus on those traits that you really wish you had, and then compare those positive traits to all those weaknesses that you were ruminating about. Make sure that you pick that really, really perfect person to compare yourself to. Repeat. Again and again.
3. Think of the worst possible scenario. If you didn’t get invited to the party, if she didn’t say hello, if he didn’t recognize you when you were at the gym, think of the worst reason possible. They hate you. They didn’t want you to come. Maybe you aren’t smart enough. Maybe you smell funny. Analyze all negative thoughts until you come up with the worst scenario. Don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Just don’t. And, if you have someone in your life that tries to talk you out of being offended, reject them and their silly advice. People like that are just annoying. There is no “reasonable” explanation.
4. Keep thinking about it. Over and over. This is the perfect time to analyze. Think about it repeatedly. Visit their Facebook page. Think about how silly you must have looked. Replay it in your mind until you just can’t handle it anymore and you feel angry, hurt, worthless, and overwhelmed. Then, do it again. Once you repeat a few times, you are ready for the final step.
5. Don’t forgive. Don’t you dare let it go. Don’t give away that pain. Don’t overcome. Don’t listen to all that craziness about how forgiveness is really for you and helps you feel better. Don’t think about how holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. What a crock! Hold onto your offense. Ensure that no one can steal it from you or talk you out of it. Carry it like an infant child; close to your heart and whining in your ear.
So, the sad thing about this list is that sometimes I actually use it. It is human nature to compare, to analyze, to find the worst case scenario and feel that others don’t care. But…all of these things just make us more angry, more hurt, and less likely to reach out and forgive. They really do keep us isolated from others. These really are five steps to being easily and utterly offended.
The real key to finding peace is to fight the natural man. We must seek out the higher good, and try to find that good in others. It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always come naturally. The truth is that most of us are just here doing our best. We aren’t perfect–not even close–but we are trying. If we were able to walk in someone else’s shoes and see the silent battles that those around us fight, we may be a little less judgmental, a little less easily offended, and a little more understanding.
I must work on this. David O. McKay said, “The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul.” Forgive. Love. Let it go.
I know, easier said than done. Good luck. Let me know what tips work for you.