Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stop looking for opportunities to be offended

Lately, many people I've spoken to or read comments or emails by have said, "I'm offended by...." I read a news blog the other day demanding that all Americans should be offended over Venezualan President Hugo Chavez's comments at the United Nations last week. Muslims and Christians never stop being offended by each other, and my tirades against organized religion often seem to offend some of my readers. In a private Masonic forum I read regularly, two brothers are politely but strongly blasting each other over "being offended" about things that only vaguely even matter.

Here are a few words about "taking offense," by one of my favorite self-awareness writers, Dr. Wayne Dyer, reprinted from

— W.S.

"...[W]hen you judge another person, you do not define them. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others."

Stop Looking for Occasions to be Offended by Dr. Wayne Dyer

When you live at or below ordinary levels of awareness, you spend a great deal of time and energy finding opportunities to be offended. A news report, an economic downturn, a rude stranger, a fashion miscue, someone cursing, a sneeze, a black cloud, any cloud, an absence of clouds — just about anything will do if you're looking for an occasion to be offended. Along the extra mile, you'll never find anyone engaging in such absurdities. Become a person who refuses to be offended by any one, any thing, or any set of circumstances. If something takes place and you disapprove, by all means state what you feel from your heart; and if possible, work to eliminate it and then let it go.

Most people operate from the ego and really need to be right. So, When you encounter someone saying things that you find inappropriate, or when you know they're wrong, wrong, wrong, forget your need to be right and instead say, "You're right about that!" Those swords will end potential conflict and free you from being offended. Your desire is to be peaceful — not to be right, hurt, angry, or resentful. If you have enough faith in your own beliefs, you'll find that it's impossible to be offended by the beliefs and conduct of others.

Not being offended is a way of saying, "I have control over how I'm going to feel, and I choose to feel peaceful regardless of what I observe going on." When you feel offended, you're practicing judgment. You judge someone else to be stupid, insensitive, rude, arrogant, inconsiderate, or foolish, and then you find yourself upset and offended by their conduct. What you may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not define them. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.

Just as no one can define you with their judgments, neither do you have the privilege of defining others. When you stop judging and simply become an observer, you will know the inner peace I'm writing about here. With that sense of inner peace, you'll find yourself free of the negative energy of resentment, and you'll be able to live a life of contentment. A bonus is that you'll find that others are much more attracted to you. A peaceful person attracts peaceful energy.

Not being offended will mean eliminating all variations of the following sentence from your repertoire of available thoughts: "If only you were more like me, then I wouldn't have to be upset right now." You are the way you are, and so are those around you. Most likely they will never be just like you. So stop expecting those who are different to be what you think they should be. It's never going to happen.

It's your ego that demands that the world and all the people in it be as you think they should be. Your higher sacred self refuses to be anything but peaceful, and sees the world as it is, not as your ego would like it to be. When you respond with hatred to hate directed at you, you've become part of the problem, which is hatred, rather than part of the solution, which is love. Love is without resentment and readily offers forgiveness. Love and forgiveness will inspire you to work at what you are for, rather than what you are against. If you're against violence and hatred, you'll fight it with your own brand of violence and hatred. If you're for love and peace, you'll bring those energies to the presence of violence, and ultimately dissolve the hatred.

When Mother Teresa was asked to march against the war in Vietnam, she replied, "No, I won't but when you have a march for peace, I'll be there."

— Dr. Wayne Dyer

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