Our world is almost becoming a place of look, see, but say nothing in case you offend someone. But this is not the kind of offense I wish to talk about. Offense is a lack of politeness or a failure to show respect for others which results in hurt feelings. In law, offense is any act punishable by law or an act usually considered as immoral. Offense is often unpredictable. We only recognize or feel it when it happens. It could come deliberately or unintended. We do not have control over people's characters and as such we do not have control on what they think, say or do.
In addition, we are of people with different personalities, values and lifestyles. Our personalities are a product of our upbringing, experience and association. We can't tell just by looking at someone whether they are going to hurt or insult us, or not.. Even the best of friends do sometimes offend one another. Anyone in a relationship will tell you that. A husband can offend his wife and a wife, in turn, can offend her husband. Supervisors can offend a worker as well as a worker can offend their supervisors. Since this is true, this leads
us to a very important questions and it is: Since we can’t control what other people think, what they could say and how they may behave towards us, “How can we confront or tackle with politeness their actions in a manner that will not create more problems and how can we get them to change their views in order to change how they act towards us?”
Here are five effective ways to achieve that:
1. Specify the offense and recognize the emotion it has aroused: When you state explicitly or in detail what was done to you, it brings you to a position of clarity and helps you to recognize the emotion it has aroused. When the offended weighs and judges an offense, they know exactly what was done to them which they consider unacceptable. It removes a biased judgment when one rationalizes the position of both characters in the event. For example, suppose a cleaner or janitor in a company failed or forgot to clean an area or do part of his job and was called upon to explain why he did not do his job, should he be offended? On the other hand, if he had done all he was assigned to do, and was embarrassed by the supervisor's complaint that he didn't help the company maintenance department to cleanup some broken equipment, doesn’t he have the right to regard that as an offense? He didn't think that was his job, and it wasn't his fault. Should he be offended? If we think about the emotion he would experience, most of the time it would be anger. When anger isn't resolved or directed properly, or held in check, it will compel you to fight back. But if you choose to repress it, it breeds hatred and revenge.
2. Consider your role in the situation: Things don’t just happen. We make things happen. And for everything that has ever happened or will ever happen someone’s action must be behind it. So, there are reasons why things happen. They could happen as a result of what you did, what you failed to do or what someone else thinks you didn’t do right. Sometimes it could come out of sheer jealousy: for example, someone thinks you are becoming more recognized or more successful than he is. People who are hurting could choose to hurt other people. That being said; offense comes as a reaction to an action either internally or externally. It comes when the offender considers that the offended had done something wrong or unacceptable. This does not rule out the fact that sometimes the offender might be wrong in his judgment. Going by the example above, when someone has failed to do his part of the job and was call in for question, should he feel offended? However, there are certain ways of questioning someone that could be provocative. But the bottom line is that he failed to do his job. He failed to play his role. If he had done his part, there wouldn't have been any need for the questioning. Considering the role you played helps you to be constructive in your thinking and rationalize how to correct the problem and move forward.
3. Discover the intention or motive of your offender: Human thoughts and intentions may be difficult to understand but they can be figured out. People’s words and actions reveal their thoughts and intentions. Sooner or later, people's true desires come to light. This is because repressed feelings always find a way to express themselves. For example, imagine that someone is jealous of you and is fighting tooth and nail to get rid of you at your workplace or get you into trouble with other workers, your friends and family. If you can be patient enough to observe, you will find out what is motivating them. When someone becomes aggressive to you, he might let you down, talk down to you, complain about what you do, compare you to others and never appreciate your efforts. Listening to people around and within the circle of your group could reveal what they think and say about you behind you. Please understand that the purpose of this article is not to make you suspicious of everyone but to help you when you feel embarrassed or offended. Intention is revealed by what people say, how they say it and where they say it. The same applies to behavior. Like when someone sarcastically tells you, “Oh, you have arrived too early for the meeting,” in front of everyone and they all laughed or mock you. It is obvious they weren't commending you, but condemning you. If they wanted to instruct or help you, they'd talk to you separately, individually. Disciplining you in front of everyone is meant to make you feel small and worthless. It's true that friends tease one another but when one person is always the subject of teasing, that could feel offensive and hurtful.
4. Express your feelings and ensure they are understood: Depending on the situation and your emotional well being at the time, you could address it right away or after a “cooling off” period. When you feel offended and you are comfortable and confident with your emotions, you'll be able to respond to hurts and offenses right away. This is the goal, since immediate expression can stop further and future offenses. If you don't shut it down or address it, the offender can keep on insulting and exaggerating things about you with no interruption. Everyone around them will believe them, think you are a fool or worse, and the hurts and offenses will continue to multiply. However, there is nothing wrong with delayed expression. Delayed expression give you the chance to chill down and think about everything in order to come up with a plan on how to approach the situation. One thing that you must not do is to repress your emotion. Even if you don’t wish to confront the offender, you can choose to talk to someone who you trust and who would listen to you. There’s a form a relief that comes when we express how we feel. Always remember that emotions cannot be buried dead because they are always alive. Try as much as you can to live a healthy and happy life by detoxifying and refreshing your emotions. Try to express every feeling of hurt in an appropriate way to the one who has offended you. This is because it does two things: it brings relief to you and brings awareness to your offender. Sometimes, some people may think they're joking but they are actually provoking. When they know that they are offending you, hurting your feelings, then they will be compelled to stop. Expressing your feelings can prevents further and future occurrences.
5. Stay away from thing you do or say that cause offense: If you are chronically late comer, stop. Change those things in your lifestyle and attitudes that make you vulnerable to criticism and offense. If that means changing your friends, please do. It is better to have other better friends than to stick to old friends that would bring you down. If it's the way you do your job, learn from others who are good workers, how you can do things better. Improve yourself. Develop new skills to perform your job effectively and efficiently. Always stay away from chronic offenders. Don’t be in their company. If you laugh with them when they tease and humiliate other people, be ready to take some doses for yourself sometime, someday in the near future. If you belong to a group and they consider you're not in their class, don’t force yourself on them. If you do, you will always be the subject of teasing and mockery in their midst. Stay away, please always do. Find somewhere you will be accepted and treated right.