I’m not enough.
This was how I felt for a long time after being bombarded with endless unsolicited comments from different people- mostly from my family and friends, regarding how I was doing as a new mom.
I remember feeling furious at how they seemed insensitive in telling me that I wasn’t doing things right and that I lacked effort.
I needed help, but when help was given, I took offense to most of it because I felt like their actions and words were all to belittle how I was as a new mom.
How Being Offended Stops Us From Progressing
For a long time, I was trapped in this cycle of wanting to improve, but I couldn’t because I didn’t want to take comments and suggestions from other people, other than books and articles I found online.
Because I was always offended by almost every bit of help that came my way, I realized that I was torturing myself. Instead of being grateful to the people who went out of their way to help me, or give me suggestions on what might work for me and my child, I took them negatively and believed for so long that no one cared and no one understood me and my journey.
My Father in Heaven heard my cries for help and my prayers for comfort, but because I took things negatively, I wasn’t improving. I wasn’t sensitive enough to understand the Lord’s way of answering my prayers.
Over time, I slowly realized that the things I was praying for were already in front of me. People and their comments were not always the problem, most of the time, it was how I took them.
The moment I started to realize that, was when my progress also started.
How To Overcome The Feeling Of Being Easily Offended
Have you ever felt offended by someone’s remarks, comments, or questions?
Some of us may have a hard time not getting offended or hurt after a bit of unsolicited advice or an unwanted comment from someone. It could be about our career, our family, our personal choices in life, our physical appearance, or even the random things that others say about us.
Although we should indeed all be mindful of what we say and how we say things, some of us sometimes tend to take things too personally, which can affect our relationships with others or even our faith in the Lord.
However, part of building our spiritual strength and maturity is learning how to overcome this feeling of being easily offended, and learning to understand and be more conscious of how we react to “offensive remarks”.
Is that easy? Not at all! Is it possible? Absolutely, with the help of the Lord!
Here are three things I learned on how to overcome being easily offended.
1. Listen with the ears and heart to understand and not to attack or defend.
Most of the time, the comments and opinions we receive, especially when they come from people who love us, are offered with good intentions. Not everyone can say things the way we want to hear them, but let us believe in the good intentions of those who love us.
If we listen with our ears and heart with the intention of understanding, we will be more engaged in the conversation instead of being offended. It allows us to think about what they say and makes us want to ask questions and get clarifications.
Let us try to see things the way they see them and understand how they have come to their opinion. It could be that there is something that needs addressing on our part, and who else would be honest enough to tell us if not our loved ones who truly care about our well-being?
2. Be honest with how you feel. They will not know unless you tell them.
These offensive remarks will probably continue, unless you let them know how you hear what they say and how you feel about it.
Sometimes, people do not have bad intentions in what they say but their words can still hurt others. Letting them know in a nice way that their words are inappropriate will also help them become more sensitive to other people’s feelings.
Make sure to choose your timing, which means wait for a time when you are not angry, just to avoid contention. You can also do it right after the “offensive remark” has been said. Usually, if these people have good intentions, they will apologize and clarify what they mean. After they apologize and clarify what they have said, we can overcome our negative thoughts.
3. Remember that what they say about you or others, says more about themselves and less about you.
Some people might intentionally try to make us feel bad about ourselves, but when we deeply understand who we truly are, these words will not cut into our hearts. We will understand that these people may be going through something within themselves, and that’s why they unconsciously or consciously inflict this pain on the people around them.
This can be a chance to show more love and kindness to them. Instead of being furious and offended, we can focus more on how they must be feeling to have to deal with such negativity. We can take this chance to be a light to others and show our good example by forgiving them and being more loving.
“What if a certain person intentionally or unintentionally offends me multiple times? How often should I even forgive?”
In Matthew 18: 21-22, Peter asked how many times shall he forgive someone who had sinned against him. The Lord answered, “…I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.”
We Are Not Perfect, But The Lord Wants Us To Always Remember Our Divine Nature and Heavenly Potential
As Elder Dieter Uchtdorf said, “The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life, it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way.”
Painful comments, being judged unjustly, and being misunderstood- all of these, and even worse, were experienced by our dear Savior, Jesus Christ when He walked the earth. He knows every bit of the pain you feel, but He has also laid the foundation and way for you to overcome that pain. As He has forgiven all of His oppressors, as well as our shortcomings and sins, we, too, can forgive others.
This is not an easy challenge at all, but with the Lord’s help, and the daily guidance of the Holy Ghost, may we be reminded that all of us have different weaknesses, and in one way or another, we are debtors that need forgiveness, too.
You are a child of God, with a divine nature and heavenly potential.
Comments and opinions will vary from one person to another. We just can’t please everyone no matter how hard we try. What’s important is we know who to please, and that is our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
What They say about you is the only absolute truth and nothing else. And as we strive to be Christlike, let’s remember that The Savior simply never took offense.
Here’s a related article on forgiveness.