PLEASE OFFEND ME! My Identity Protective Cognition Makes It Impossible (A Lesson on Emotional Intelligence)

I am inviting the entire world to attempt to offend me or hurt my feelings. You can attack my appearance, my personal beliefs (like religion, politics, or my crazy vegan lifestyle), or you can even question my motives for doing this in the first place.

You can accuse me of being conceited, as some might say it would take an arrogant person to claim no other person has the power of his emotions to offend him.

But I would actually submit the opposite…

I propose that pride is the root of being offended. I have learned that most people, by default, think this about themselves:

“I’m a good person.”

Therefore, a “good person” deserves (that’s a dangerous word!) to be treated better; to be treated with more respect.

So when another person comes along and implies that “good person” is not as good as they think they are in their own mind, it is an attack against their identity.

Let’s talk about Identity Protective Cognition for a moment.

It’s the concept that when a person has an idea or belief that is so well-rooted in their identity, any information that someone hurls against them will only reinforce that person’s preexisting beliefs.

So whereas the default for most people is, “I’m a good person, therefore, my identity as a good person can constantly be under attack; from anyone to strangers on the highway to my spouse…”, my identity is different:

“I’m not a good person. I’m a flawed person who is aware I’ll ultimately never please everybody on a daily basis. But I’m confident in my identity in knowing that I will always disappoint someone no matter how hard I try.”

Imagine if that were your identity.

Not to mention, I have Identity Protective Cognition on the belief that I fundamentally can not be offended and that no one can hurt my feelings.

Therefore, anyone who even tries to offend me will only reinforce what I already believe:

No one controls my own emotions but me.

But please, try. I beg you.

It will only prove my theory to everyone else reading this today.

I believe Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: ”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

“Should I Be Offended by That?” (Victorious Mindset versus Victim Mentality)

“Should I Be Offended by That?” (Victorious Mindset versus Victim Mentality)

Should I be offended by that?

No.

No, I should not.

The answer is simply no. Whatever it is, you shouldn’t be offended by it.

Because you can choose to be more intelligent and psychologically stronger by making the decision to not be offended.

There’s no question that in an age of social media serving us in the likeness of Big Brother, word travels quickly and even makes national headlines when someone or some group out there gets offended by something.

Some of these cases seem more legitimate than others, of course.

But my challenge to you is that whatever the offense, choose to not be offended.

Here’s why.

I am a believer in choosing to be victorious.

(After all, that’s literally how my name translates. Nicholas is Greek for victorious.)

My observation is that if you don’t proactively choose to adopt a “victorious mindset,” you by default fall in danger of having a “victim mentality”.

I can choose to be on top of this thing, psychologically.

Or, I can choose to allow someone else to “do me wrong.”

If I believe that the entire free world has the ability to offend me (or for lack of a better term, “hurt my feelings”), then I am fair game to constantly being a victim.

But if up front, each and every day, I decide that no one has the ability to offend me, then I instead place myself in a position where being offended by someone else is always one less thing I can worry about that day.

My observation is that most of the time, people aren’t intentionally trying to offend each other.

And even if they are, that simply reflects the offender’s own character.

I’ve learned the best thing to do when someone says something seemingly offensive, whether they are outright intending to offend or not, is to simply acknowledge what they are saying, with confidence and a smile, but no sarcasm nor biting remarks.

In the past year alone…

-Taller men than me have pointed out that I am shorter than they are.

-Men with lower hairlines and no thinning spots at the back of their head have pointed out that my hairline is higher and that my hair is thinner in the back.

-Smaller nosed men have pointed out my nose is bigger.

Consider those things. Other grown men have taken time and energy out of their day to point out perceived imperfections about me.

What does that say about their own level of confidence?

More importantly, what does it say about my level of confidence when I am quick to respond that I indeed am shorter, have thinner hair, and a bigger nose than those who are pointing it out?

I simply own up to their perception.

What does it hurt me?

I go on with my day. And they realize that their lack of self-confidence was unable to bring down my level of self-confidence, which ironically is something they don’t have.

Should I be offended by anything?

Try me.

Some People Like Being Offended and/or Taking Advantage of Pointing Out a Person’s Perceived Faux Pas So They Can Correct Them and Feel Empowered by It

There’s more than one way to say, “You’re wrong and I’m right.”

I admit that part of the joy I get in reading the online articles of other writers who are much more popular and commercialized than I am is from skimming through the hundreds of opinionated comments that people leave at the bottom of the post: People on both sides of the issue trying to prove both the author and/or each other wrong.  Here’s an example I effortlessly found this morning: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/AssessYourNeeds/weston-7-insurance-myths-that-could-cost-you.aspx

And it often starts with one person who slightly takes the author’s words to an extreme context to where they can become offended.  Therefore, they’re happy because now they get to leave a comment to tell off the writer, which indeed draws a flood of other commenters disagreeing with the first person.  And so the snowball grows. 

For many people, their desperation for a sense of power is so strong that they make themselves a sort of victim, offended by the slightest opinion of someone who does have some amount of control or influence over others- in this case, an online author.  A website where this tends to happen regularly is The Grio.  Here’s an example:

http://www.thegrio.com/specials/be-well-be-healthy/how-obesity-has-become-a-part-of-black-culture.php

Of course the easily offended don’t just get their kicks from the Online World, they practice their form of self-psychosis in the real world too.  Not too long ago I offended someone when I bought a snack for them (they gave me the money for it up front) and I didn’t bring it back to them in a separate container from the one I got for myself.  It all worked out because they ended up giving me theirs without me paying them back- but still, the person made a scene over something very petty, in front of several other people.  So I felt compelled to apologize- if for no other reason, because I felt awkward.  (But if anyone should have been offended, I’d like to think it should have been me- for the sense of slight public humiliation I went through in the process.)

Events like that have taught me to apologize less.  It’s not always my fault when a person is offended (though it often is).  I’m learning to be better about sorting out the people who I indeed hurt through my lack of sensitivity and those who are simply chronic Glass Joe’s.  So hear this, people who are offended way too easily:

Sorry, but I’m just not that sorry anymore.