Instead of getting defensive, say, “Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I’ll consider them.” – Henry Cloud
WARNING: This post may be triggering!
Feeling offended has become a national pass-time these days it seems.
We find offense in all sorts of things, mostly based on our own ideals of how we want the world and our communities to appear.
We would like everything to conform exactly to our own ideals, and get very bent out of shape when they don’t.
Fights, arguments, shouting and even violent acts have erupted as a result of someone getting offended.
We’ve even coined a not-so-fond nick-name for people known to be on the cutting edge of getting offended: we call them “Karens”.
People who regularly get offended are usually people who live in a state where their Amygdala is constantly activated, so any perceived threat will quickly trigger their fight or flight response, and they aren’t known for beating a hasty retreat.
It seems to be a matter of pride for them to rise to the challenge, draw the proverbial sword and seek to overcome their opponent with anger.
It gets justified in their minds by feeling it is “righteous anger”.
Living in an anxious state all the time isn’t good for our mental or physical health.
When we add anger outbursts to the mix, we only heighten our chances for serious health issues, not to mention the disruption it creates in everyone’s lives who is in close proximity.
Covid and quarantines have only intensified many people’s anxieties and anger, leading to whole groups of people at odds with who they see is the “other side”.
Gandhi said we need to become the change we wish to see. Fine… but how?
Before we feel offended, we hear something which triggers us, then we feel anxious, then we feel angry.
If we can mindfully step in before the sequence erupts, we can teach ourselves to step back from firing off a verbal volley on the other person.
Not every situation needs a live-or-die, fight-to-the-death response!
It’s the very active Amygdala which pumps Adrenalin into our brains which fools us into thinking it is!
It’s possible to re-train our brains not to immediately jump into the “hyper-activated” Amygdala mode.
Our Neural-pathways get so well used that it becomes the go-to response.
Anger management teaches us that we need to create brand new Neural-pathways to handle life’s events much more calmly and peacefully.
We do this by choosing different thoughts.
It’s good to prepare ourselves ahead of time with how we choose to respond.
The more we practice our new responses, the easier it will get to make this our new go-to, because we’re creating new Neural-pathways.
The more the new pathway gets used, the more our brains will start to use it as a short-cut.
The less the undesirable responses get used, the less our brains will resort to using them. The old Neural-pathways lose their strength over time.
The more we can teach ourselves to respond peacefully to situations, the less and less our Amygdala is activated, which means it isn’t pumping Adrenalin into our bodies with regularity.
This helps each of us to personally experience better mental and physical health (maybe even to reduce a chronic health issue), plus our relationships and interactions with people run smoother!
In my ideal world, we would treat each other with kindness and respect. Our differences would be points of interest, not points of contention.
In my ideal world we would respect each other so much we’re not trying to get the other person to change to match our idea of what is “right”, but instead we would be working on changing ourselves to live peacefully in our own skin, where our anxieties, fears, anger and pain have been healed.
Thank you for listening to my thoughts! Have a peaceful day!
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