Being too easily offended is a form of self-victimization. Ouch! What are the symptoms of this mindset, and what can be done about this?
We don't always recognize an imbalance in our mindset for what it is. We experience the results of it, though, and that's where we tend to place our focus, which leads us to completely miss the cause. When we miss or ignore the cause of a mindset that doesn't serve us, effecting a change is darn near impossible. As Albert Einstein said, "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."
Anyone of us has times when we feel offended, and perhaps rightfully so. But there are some who are caught in a loop where they seem to be offended more often than not, and in a way that seems illogical to others. If you are or someone you know is too easily offended, this stems from a core thought that has a core emotion attached to it, which causes a specific action to be taken. Every action ultimately comes forth from a desired response or a conditioned one. A core thought may be, "This should not be happening," and a core emotion might be, "I'm unsafe (whatever form that might take)." The usual, primary desires are to feel safe, valued, and fulfilled. Any of us, but especially anyone too easily offended, may believe if we feel these, caused or provided by others, we will feel happy.
People who are too easily offended are seldom happy and seldom considered happy by others. Some may feel they'll never be happy for reasons that seem justifiable to them. And those in their lives who attempt to provide what will help them feel happy find it an ongoing and oftentimes futile effort.
What are some symptoms of being too easily offended? Please keep in mind that what's listed here was somehow part of an individual's conditioning. They (or you) may not actually want to do what's listed, but they do practice them, because they're stuck in a mindset and will remain there until they decide to become unstuck. Also keep in mind that wherever we are on the scale of this, we can all benefit by paying attention to the cause-and-effect factors of these symptoms.
Happiness is not an emotion, it's a state of being, as is content, secure, and so forth. If you believe that you won't be happy or feel secure until others do what you think they should, you've given your personal power away. If you do this, you'll continue to try to get from others what you should be giving to yourself.
This is one reason many of us lead quiet, or not-so-quiet, lives of frustration. We believe anything we want must come from outside of ourselves. If you accept that what you really want is to feel a certain way, then you have to accept that the only way you reach that feeling is by choosing to—and by looking out for your best interests and honoring the best interests of others.
What can be done about this? The first thing is to see if a health issue is involved. Someone in poor health or in pain, or who is exhausted, may experience some or all of the symptoms listed above. A chemical imbalance or mental illness can cause anomalous behaviors, as well. If either of these is the case, the first thing to do is address it through medical means to provide relief. But appreciation can still be a choice to assist you or the person to experience the self and life from a better perspective, rather than have a when/then mindset. Even one or several small segments of time given each day to appreciation will make a difference.
Here are several questions taken from my iPEC coach training manual that can help you, if you're easily offended, or someone else you know who is.
If you are too easily offended or know someone who is, recognize that although feeling triggered may be justified by an event, another story is running simultaneously, one that will block rational, practical, or even spiritual approaches. A circle will be traveled, one that goes nowhere, but deepens the emotional pain. All of us have a story running underneath everything else that goes on in life. The story is comprised of core beliefs that influence us in every way. The good news is that beliefs change but Truths never do. It's a matter of discerning the difference between the two, as well as which one you listen to and follow—a belief or a Truth. It's a matter of identifying beliefs that don't serve you and replacing them with ones that do, as you move closer and closer to Truths that empower you in positive ways.
It is helpful to know what the cause of how we feel is, but getting stuck on that cause rather than asking "What can I do about this at my inner level that I will do?" isn't going to get us where we want to be. Question 5 above is a significant one. We tell ourselves stories all the time—and we believe them. That's the voice each one of us has in our head that chatters on. We can recognize that emotions follow thoughts, which creates a loop, which means we can be deliberate about guiding those inner conversations. We can engage new thinking that allows us to choose better thoughts that serve us. It's a good practice; one you'll appreciate.
Practice makes progress.