One of the most fundamentally important parts of my identity is a theory that I discovered on my own, a few years back: That I alone get to decide and determine whether or not other people have the ability to offend me, insult me, or hurt my feelings.
I even tested my theory out with a blog post and video where I invited the free world to say anything they wanted to me in attempt to negatively emotionally affect me. You can imagine the results:
No one was successful in offending, insulting, or hurting me with anything they said.
Because I had already made it my mission to stop allowing other people to “hurt my feelings”. I realized that no one could make me feel insecure or inferior unless I gave them the green light for it.
So whether it was someone flipping me off on the Interstate as they perceived I cut them off, or a co-worker implying that I was not doing my job right, or even a member of my own family that I perceived brushed me off when I was telling them a story that was important to me.
I realized, I am the one in control of the lever that determines whether or not I get offended. It’s an on/off switch that most people never take advantage of.
Most people, I have learned, refuse to take ownership over their own emotions; when it comes to other people. By default, they allow the entire free world to potentially offend, insult, or hurt them at any given moment.
I challenge that concept. I choose to be victorious over my own emotions, not a victim by default.
It’s a journey, for sure. I admit it. The easiest place to start though, is with people who you don’t actually personally know, but who still have the power to offend you; like other drivers on the road or people who disagree with you on social media.
I would have to imagine that if we’re honest, we can realize how foolish it is to let someone like that ruin our day. That’s where I started.
From there, I practiced my theory of “not giving other people control over my own emotions” to co-workers. And then to my own family.
Granted, trying to keep your own spouse from offending you is probably the most challenging, as it’s important you don’t build an emotional wall which keeps them from emotionally connecting to you.
Still though, I can say from personal experience, the less I allowed my wife to “hurt my feelings”, the stronger our marriage has become.
I control my own emotions, meaning that other people don’t get to decide that for me.
See, most people live with Identity Protective Cognition, believing this:
“But I’m a good person!”
So when one another person says something that could be perceived as an attack on their identity as a “good person”, that “good person” is therefore being attacked.
The irony here is that most people think the same thing about themselves: “But I’m a good person!”
Then the paradox of a result is we have a world filled with “good people” who constantly offend each other anyway.
I made a conscious decision to unplug from that broken system.
Instead, I don’t see myself as a “good person.” I recognize that term as an illusion.
(Here’s a recent video I made about this just a few days ago, below.)
I see myself as an imperfect person who is constantly in need of improvement. I know what my strengths are, yet I know that even my strengths can be improved. I am also aware of my weaknesses, and I am quick to agree with anyone who points them out.
Without a doubt, one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life is to stop letting people offend me. However, I’ve also learned that most people would prefer to live with their victim mentality mindset which allows them to be potentially offended at any moment.
It’s just like when people learn that I’m a vegan. Most people immediately respond with, “Oh, I could never do that!” I get the same response with most people when I explain my theory about not letting other people control your emotions.
This morning, I decided to test out my theory on Dr. Joshua Straub, who has a doctorate in Counseling. He is a professional who helps people on his parenting blog and on his YouTube channel. By the way, he and his wife have a huge following on Facebook! (Whereas I have nearly 1,100 followers on my Facebook fan page, they have nearly 18,000 followers!)
To my amazement, he actually agreed with the validity of my theory. You can see the surprise on my face in the video (featured at the very top of this blog post) we recorded together today.
I feel like I’m not the kind of person who constantly needs confirmation from society, like the way Michael Scott infamously always did on The Office. So usually, I honestly don’t care if anyone else agrees or disagrees with my perspective. I am a confident person. People who are secure in their identity don’t that require confirmation as their fuel.
But undeniably, Dr. Joshua Straub is an exception to this for me. Why? Because he actually knows what he’s talking about; and not simply on a professional level, but a doctorate level.
So maybe… my crazy theory about not allowing others to emotionally control us is just crazy enough to be true.
What do you think about my theory? Is it really so far-fetched? Am I crazy for thinking this way?
Let me know in the comments. I’ve already established it’s impossible to offend me. Go ahead, give it a try…