How much energy are you stealing from your total pie by indulging in self-righteous offense?
Do you ever find yourself feeling exhausted, even though you know you’re getting enough daily sleep and taking care of yourself pretty well? Even in the best of health, every single one of us has a fixed amount of energy we get to work with every day. Energy that goes towards our physical, mental, and emotional activities. I like to think of this total energy as a pie.
Everything you do each day – every thought, every feeling, and every action – is a tiny slice of that pie. And when the pie is gone, you reach the end of your energy for the day.
If you find that all you have left is an empty pie plate long before the day is over….odds are there is something in your thoughts or emotions that is eating a bigger slice of the pie than you know.
Self-righteous offense or holding on to resentment from a judgment of a perceived offense against you is one of the sneaking thieves that may be stealing your total pie.
Resentment resulting from a perceived offense is a very personal and private emotion that has almost no effect on the person it is directed towards. It does, however, have the effect of stealing your energy, your good will, and if nourished creates a warped filter preventing a healthy view of the world and peace of mind.
How Does Holding on to Offense Eat Your Pie?
- It Promotes Cut-Rate Self Esteem – People are often seduced by the desire to sustain bitter and superior feelings because it gives them a deceptive sense of strength and superiority. It is cheap (promoting cut-rate self-esteem,) to feel superior by judging others as wrong or bad. If this is not well understood, you can hold on to offenses living with the illusion that it makes you ‘better than,’ to stay offended.
- Feeling Offended Takes Your Focus Off the Big Picture of Your Life – When you ‘stay in the weeds’ regularly ruminating over the injustice, it makes it hard to live forward. Your desire to look at the bigger picture of your life – the dreams, the hopes, and the big plans – are diminished. Essentially you are held hostage by the past event and keeping yourself in jail. The event then is not your problem. It’s your decision to continue a negative relationship with the event.
- A Decision to Stay Focused on the Offense Keeps you in the Past – Staying married to the offense serves as a heavy weight keeping your focus in the past and not on today. This heavy weight is made heavier if you cater to the temptation to vent your concern with others. Misery loves company. If you develop new relationships around the offense….then this offense runs the risk of becoming a part of your ‘identity,’ or who you believe you are.
As an example, have you met a person who in the first 5 minute announces “I’m George; I am a survivor of “x.”? This is an example of someone who has developed an identity around the offense.
No one positively benefits from developing a tribe around what should have happened. Rather than creating a living memory to this terrible offense, leave people with hope and a lesson-learned.
What to Do When the Energy It Takes to Keep the Offense Going is Eating Your Pie
1. New Attitudes and Behaviors to Get Your Pie Back
Instead of stuffing it and ruminating over the offense…..announce your feelings directly to the person or group involved in a private conversation. Set a boundary in your announcement of what you stand for and will allow. You can do this on paper or in person. Be careful not to do this in front of uninvolved people.
- Be sure that you are succinct and state the concern in as brief a manner as possible. Finish with what you would have liked and what you stand for and expect.
- Let go of the desire to wring hands or perseverate. Your outcome is to state the issue and the boundary….not to draw them into a discussion.
- Most importantly, your desire is to get the concern out of you and with it the desire to wish you had stood up for yourself. Feeling offended and hanging onto it is common for people that do not naturally stand up for themselves.
A Cautionary Note: If this is a person or group who has physically harmed or threatened you this might need to be done privately by writing it down and then burning it after you spent several days reading it out loud with emotion. Learn from this and set a boundary, then use your time in a productive way to rebuild your life and move forward. Remember ruminating causes your brain to think it still isn’t over.
2. Powerful Affirmations to Keep You On Track
After you discharged the offense in whatever way you feel most comfortable….Finish the issue with these two statements: a) That was then and I am choosing to live now, b) I have made a decision to let this go now!
**Acknowledging ideas from Alice Wheaton, “Five Reasons Never to Feel Offended”
Do you have a self-righteous offense you are ready to let go of? Share your commitment in a comment below.