Yes, being offended is a choice. This isn’t a popular view in a world where any rude, inconsiderate, or uneducated comment can throw the the media/twiterverse/facebook into a tailspin. No matter what someone says to you, you and only you make the choice to be offended (maybe this statement is offensive to you… if so keep reading).
Do people stay stupid things? I do and there is a chance you may have at some point as well. The question is why am I offended when someone says something dumb? It seems like there are a few reasons why we become offended including:
1) You think you are right. I wrote a blog post, Why I’m Never Wrong, because I love to be right. When you love being right someone saying your wrong is a sure fire way to feel offended.
2) You are personally connected to what’s being attacked/mocked. If you have a family member serving our country, negative comments about soldiers are going to cause you to bristle and feel offended. Same with jokes about the earthquake in Japan.
3) You are afraid that what was said might be true. This is the sneakiest of the three as you might not even be aware of what is going on. If a spouse or co-worker attacks you in an area know you are weak in you will feel offended.
Even if you insult my brother serving our country overseas or think I am the worst boss in the world (and tell everyone in the office) I am 100% in control of if it offends me. Offended people are usually not happy people and I don’t want to live stuck (by my own choice) in the land of offendedness.
If you have 18 minutes, watch this video by Michael Hyatt that talks about overlooking offenses and learning from criticism. He approaches the topic from a Christian perspective but I think anyone can learn from the ideas he presents.
What else causes you to feel offended?