If you are looking for offense, you will surely find a way to see it, whether it was real or not, and whether it was intended or not.
The net affect will be you feel badly, which makes you less happy, productive, creative and resourceful. Other side effects include observers finding you prickly, defensive and negative. Worst of all, making this choice repeatedly is self-reinforcing – you become better at it!
Why not make a choice that serves you? If you are wondering whether or not to take offense at someone’s actions or words, make the decision that it’s not about you (and it very likely isn’t). Whether true or not, you will be happier, and thus more productive creative and resourceful. People will appreciate your sunny and generous attitude. Best of all, it will recalibrate your brain to make this choice self-reinforcing. You consistently choose a more positive perspective.
Example: For my living, I coach people on how to be more effective and happier, allowing them to raise the ceiling on their potential. I will choose to believe that people reading this post find it helpful, even inspiring, and in the best case, life-changing. Someone with a well-honed eye for seeing things negatively may take exception to it. I’ll choose to see that as validation and an opportunity to practice. Choosing to tell yourself a positive story is choosing life!
So much of our life’s story is “made up” – why not make it the best story you can? Two of my favorite books that help with this practice are “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and “Leadership and Self-Deception” by the Arbinger Group. I am co-creating a worksho on Archetypes with a colleague this year, as I am fascinated by how the archetypes we take on (typically unconsciously) can color the lens through which we see the world.