Easily Offended? Reduce Anger with These 3 Thoughts
What’s the most recent interaction that easily offended you, caused immediate anger, or raised your hackles? Some I’ve seen around me recently:
- A family member upset at another family member when young children were specifically not invited to a wedding
- A community member angry about yet another Starbucks being built in her town
- A driver chasing down another driver after being tailgated
Why Are You Easily Offended or Quick to Anger?
When you look at the examples above, the easily offended and angry reactions may seem extreme. After all, these things are fairly inoffensive on their own. However, each one also has a legitimate concern underneath that’s causing the strong reaction.
- The irritated parents realized they hadn’t interpreted the wording in the invitation correctly, which was embarrassing on its own, and they hadn’t planned ahead for childcare. They were also short on funds for babysitting, so they felt disappointed about potentially having one of them miss an important family event.
- The community member has seen gentrification in her neighborhood affect rent prices. She’s fearful that she soon won’t be able to afford her current home, and an indication of a change in the neighborhood elevates that fear. She sees big companies like Starbucks as the face of gentrification.
- The road rage driver was rear-ended with his child in the backseat a few years ago. The fear of another collision like that sends his adrenaline response out of control, and he’s wired more for the "fight" response than for "flight" or "freeze."
In all these cases, the person having the easily offended reaction doesn’t realize these other fears, concerns, or experiences are behind their behavior. Can you take a look at the offensive item in your life and see what’s behind it? If you’re unreasonably upset about something that maybe shouldn’t be so upsetting, can you dig a bit in your own mind to find out why?
What Action Can Prevent You from Being Easily Offended?
Can you take action on the issue that has easily offended you, or on the underlying cause? For instance, is there a gentle education you can offer to someone who displays ignorance about a topic you care deeply about? Is there a place or person you can avoid? Is there a conversation to have with a therapist? Is there a favor to ask? Can you provide an explanation of your reaction to those who need one? Can you redirect the anger toward the actual problem or worry that you face?
Reduce Anger with a Shift in Perspective
If you can’t take action on the item that easily offends you or its underlying cause, it may help to shift your perspective. Focus on something that is actually a significant issue -- something that’s truly worth anger or frustration. That person you’re chasing down the road won’t remember you a week from now, and you likely won’t remember her either. So what’s something that actually will affect you in a week, a month, or a year? When you start to look at these larger concerns, a small thing like an individual Starbucks doesn’t seem to matter as much.
Meredith, M. (2018, October 7). Easily Offended? Reduce Anger with These 3 Thoughts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2018/10/easily-offended-reduce-anger-with-these-3-thoughts