This is an insult!

ImageToday, I was speaking to a friend about being offended by things people say. Particularly family.

Nobody likes getting insulted. And if you’re like me – extremely over-sensitive and prone to taking everything personally – you really don’t like it. It’s been quite some time since somebody has insulted me on purpose now, but it used to happen every single day for nine years while I was at school (I was an overweight child / teenager), and I guess that is what has left me with a quite reactive personality. But I have realised that getting insulted is actually a choice.

We all I know it is most hurtful to be told negative things by people close to you. I think it’s because we have a greater tendency to believe they’re true if the person saying them know you well. But a lot of the time people say things out of stress and annoyance, like I do, and remembering that helps.

What also helps a lot is bearing in mind that anything anyone tells you, you’re free do decide that it doesn’t apply, or that it does and it’s okay. If someone calls me, for an example, let’s say ‘lazy’, then that is by their standards, and their opinion. And I can either decide that they’re wrong, or that they’re right but it’s not really such a big deal. I’m easily annoyed and impatient (which peopled do tell me and which is true) I mean, yeah. That’s the case. I’m working on it, but other than that, there’s really no point in getting offended at somebody for stating fact.

So why would I, and most people I think, react so strongly to being told they’re lazy, if they indeed happen to be? Is it because they know it’s true but hoped nobody would notice? Or is it because in that statement is implied an opinion that you should change?

Maybe you want to change. Maybe you’ve tried to change. But when someone else tells you you ought to change, it’s suddenly a big deal? Because they’re telling you they don’t like you as you are? Or, rather, you choose to interpret it that way. When you think about it, any insult could really be placed into one of two categories.

1) Subjective opinion. “You’re ugly” – Says you. And I should care about your personal preferences why?

2) Truth. “You’re so impatient (you really ought to do something about that)”  – Yep. You’re right. And I am trying to do something about it, or else I’m coping fine like this. Or I should do something about it it, but I’m not going to right now because of reasons.

3) It’s not an insult. “You should / shouldn’t do x, y, z this way or that” – Many times people tend to take advice as criticism. But it doesn’t need to be. Maybe the person in question genuinely think you have not considered this approach and want to help. There’s nothing wrong with assuming a benevolent reason and save yourself getting insulted. (More on this in a later post)

Bearing these strategies in mind, technically it should be possible to become uninsultable. In theory…

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