On Becoming Un-Offendable
“You talking to me?” Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver
I used to leap at the opportunity to be offended.
And I would rehash arguments in my head, wishing I’d said this or that, or recalling with satisfaction some zinger I got in.
I would even invent whole confrontations in my head, rehearsing how it would go, and get myself all stirred up that way.
I was that guy.
Perhaps you know someone who fits the description. Perhaps, at times, you fit the description.
We live in a society where people are eager to take offense, to feel attacked and to attack back because, you know, “I was just defending myself.” And social media is just making it worse.
After I started meditating every day (it helped to find an easy practice I could stick with), I started noticing something curious: it was getting harder and harder for me to feel offended. I spent way less time arguing with people, both face-to-face and in my head. And now I’m pretty much un-offendable. (Note: I did say “pretty-much.”)
Because Vedic Meditation helps ground our identity in a direct experience of our essential selves. Of the us that can’t be touched or tainted by the opinions or actions of others. And it certainly can’t be offended.
And being grounded in that deep, inner self means that if you get in my face and criticize some aspect of me, my parenting for example, (or maybe my writing…I do tend to ramble on) I know that the real me, the whole me, isn’t being attacked. So I don’t have to get back in your face and get all defensive. So I can listen and learn. You might be right. Perhaps I could do something better. And if you’re wrong? Well, often when people are critical of us, or angry at us, it actually says a lot more about them then it does about us…but if we’re arguing we miss the opportunity to take in that useful information.
Being un-offendable doesn’t mean that you don’t still have issues and obstacles to overcome in your dealings with others. It’s just that you manage to do without so much rancor, and without bruising so many egos. Especially yours.
It’s a nice way to be in the world.
You got a problem with that?