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Punishment

Don’t Offend, Don’t Get Offended, and Don’t Seek Revenge

I would like to think that most people offend only accidently.

“Don’t Offend, Don’t Get Offended, and Don’t Seek Revenge.”

These are the words of a spiritual teacher named Prem Rawat. I’m not a devotee. In fact, I’m just now learning about him, but those words are so powerful. If you or anyone you know is suffering from an emotional trauma or mental illness, living those words will set you on a path of healing.

I am a kind person by nature and go out of my way to avoid offending anyone because I know that feeling offended really comes from a place of hurt, and I’d never want to make another human being suffer. Unfortunately, sometimes people do disagree with things I say, and that’s perfectly fine. If they take my writing personally and get offended (which has happened three times in more than 20 years), I have no problem saying, “I’m sorry. It was unintentional.”

I would like to think that most people offend only accidentally, but we all know better. There are folks who like to put other people down and make them feel bad. There is a false sense of empowerment that comes with these actions, and the people who commit them must be dealing with some pretty ugly demons in their heads and hearts. But that’s no excuse.

Being a highly sensitive person, I can get my feelings hurt a little too easily and, on occasion, I do get offended—imagine that! The thing is that I have enough self-knowledge to temper my temper and not get upset because I see where the uncomfortable feelings are really coming from. That knowledge acts as a barrier to feeling like someone has wronged me.

Still, there have been hurts and heartache along the way. When someone breaks up with you, that feeling of being unwanted hurts, pure and simple. You need to work at accepting that this is a temporary feeling, that you will feel bad for a while, and give yourself a break. Then, you can gradually get back into the swing of things. Acceptance goes a long way toward helping you get back into life.

If you are a vengeful person, let me assure you that revenge is an emotionally (and financially) expensive activity. If you are out to “get even,” most likely you will end up with less in the end. People who are bent on this course are generally consumed by it, and it can haunt their every waking moment, preventing them from truly living their life and being there for the people who need them. I have seen vengeful people so focused on their target that they push their loved ones away.

Some people keep a running list in their heads of all the people who they feel have wronged them. If they aren’t focused on one person, it’s only because they are thinking about another. Sometimes the enemy is a united opposing force, and the anxiety and pain that comes at those moments is overwhelming and can lead to some unwise choices. If your anger is at this level, my advice is to seek counseling. Do not do anything to hurt another person. Know that you are above that, and better than those who have wronged you. Sinking to their level will not make you feel better, and it eats away at your soul.

I know this is a tall order, but I believe that not offending, not getting offended, and not seeking revenge are all choices a mature adult would naturally make—and of course, we all have bad moments. If you just remember to take the high road, it can save you a lot of grief.

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