[MUST READ] How To Not Be Offended: Advice from Latter-day Prophets and Apostles

The following was taken from the book Stress Mangagement: Lessons from the Savior by Karen Shores, currently on sale at cedarfort.com.


Being easily offended is a totally unnecessary cause of your own stress. By learning to not be easily offended, you automatically reduce your stress levels.


What does it mean to not be easily offended? In simple terms, it means don’t take other people’s comments and behaviors personally. Don’t get upset when someone is rude to you, acts offensively, or snubs you. The behavior and comments of others are a reflection of that other person’s attitudes, thoughts, and character, not reflections of you. Remember the section on judgment and criticism? Social media is rampant with opportunities to be offended.


President Brigham Young counseled us to not be easily offended. He likened our positive or negative reaction when offensive comments are made to how we might also respond positively or negatively to a rattlesnake bite. It is reported that President Brigham Young once said that


"He who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense was intended is usually a fool. It was then explained that there are two courses of action to follow when one is bitten by a rattlesnake. One may, in anger, fear, or vengefulness, pursue the creature and kill it. Or he may make full haste to get the venom out of his system. If we pursue the latter course we will likely survive, but if we attempt to follow the former, we may not be around long enough to finish it.”


 He tells us clearly that it is just plain foolish to be offended whether the other person intended to be rude or not.


If someone offends you, let it go. If someone overlooks you or forgets to invite you to an event, let it go. It doesn’t do you any good to hold on to the offense. Just like anger, lack of forgiveness, or any other emotion that causes stress, the person who feels the symptoms of offense is only you. Let it go. As you fret over what the other person did, why they did it, how hurt you are because of it, and what you should do about it, you are wasting a great deal of your energy trying to respond to the character of another person. To what avail? Will you be able to change their character? Probably not. Does feeling offended make you feel better? Definitely not. Let it go!


The way we respond when we feel offended could indeed have some serious consequences. What if the other person had no intention whatsoever to offend you or criticize you in any way, but you “felt criticized,” so you respond by yelling and screaming and being even more offensive than you perceived the other person to be, just so you could make a point. Unfortunately, you just revealed in a huge, undeniable voice more about your own lack of character and your desire to inf lict injury on purpose than about the other person. The other person had no intention at all to offend. Perhaps they were actually trying to be nice, maybe they were making a joke or just having a normal conversation, but your unwarranted and intentionally cruel response caused severe damage to your relationship and a great deal of stress for both of you. Whose character and intentions are questionable?



Elder Marion D. Hanks said that the way we handle situations in which we feel offended may have serious ramifications: “What is our response when we are offended, misunderstood, unfairly or unkindly treated, or sinned against, made an offender for a word, falsely accused, passed over, hurt by those we love, our offerings rejected? Do we feel resentful, become bitter, hold a grudge? Or do we resolve the problem if we can, forgive, and rid ourselves of the burden? The nature of our response to such situations may well determine the nature and quality of our lives, here and eternally."


What others say or do is a reflection of them, not of you. Elder David Bednar summed this principle up quite succinctly, saying, “You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended.”


What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!


The following was taken from the book Stress Mangagement: Lessons from the Savior by Karen Shores, currently on sale at cedarfort.com.