The unoffendable heart

What if people’s spiteful words didn’t affect you? What if you realized that anything hurtful someone says or does to you is all about them, not you?

And what if acknowledging that meant you could literally let these words and actions roll right off your back?

Image-4Wouldn’t that be the most amazing super power ever?!!!!

I know some people who come close to living that dream reality. This may be a generalization, but I think sometimes men come closer, maybe because they’re socialized to have a more confident sense of themselves?

I tend to take many things (maybe most) personally, and to heart. I look inside myself for things I may have done wrong … when anyone seems angry with, or hurt by, me.

It’s the worst feeling in the world to me. And while I like the fact that I’m sensitive, and accountable for when I may slip up, I want to draw the line at some point. Especially when I don’t agree with the person’s assessment and the way they’re reacting. And especially when I may not even respect , or really know or like, the person making the assessment.

IMG_2156Thus the unoffendable heart.

I learned about it from a coworker (who credits his pastor with the concept and a whole series of seminars on it). And I actually think it’s the key to, well, almost everything! Here’s how I interpret it …

Having an unoffendable heart doesn’t mean not caring about others. In fact, like so many things, its somewhat counterintuitive effect is that you can be even more empathetic to others, but without hurting or demeaning yourself in the process. And without your feelings getting in the way of objectively assessing what people are saying or doing to you and why. Which can then lead to a response that’s probably less hurtful to both of you.

When you don’t feel offended, for example:

  • You don’t have to get defensive and explain yourself
  • You don’t have to go on the offensive (to get back at someone)
  • You don’t have, or even want, to get angry
  • You don’t ascribe motives to people they may not have (i.e., trying to hurt me)
  • You can more easily forgive people their own shortcomings, even wish them the best, pray for them (if that’s what you do)

Image-6Taken more broadly, unoffendable hearts could mean fewer unresolvable conflicts in the world, wars even. Greater acceptance of different religions, cultures, personalities and ways of behaving. Less need to be ‘right’ and punish all those you feel are wrong, or somehow ‘offending,’ mistreating or ‘threatening’ you.

Like I talked about in my last blog (Learning and Growing), it’s not about letting other people off the hook if they’ve mistreated you. It’s really about letting YOURSELF off the hook from feeling angry, betrayed, vengeful, you fill in the blank. It’s about feeling so good about yourself that others can’t penetrate or destroy that. Not easily anyway.

Something to aspire to? I think so! (I also think there could be something around ‘the unoffendable driver’ – maybe less road rage?!)

IMG_2149ABTW – All of this goes along with some lessons I’ve learned in Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass book and Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth / Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose that are all about that hardest lesson of all: letting it go. In a nutshell: 1) love and be most fair to the person you’re always with – you; 2) it’s better to be happy than right; and 3) try to overcome your ego and just focus on what you need to do to help yourself, in any situation. Tolle says if you can’t enjoy, be enthusiastic about or at least accept a situation, it may be time to try to change it.

2 thoughts on “The unoffendable heart

  1. Thanks again Ellen for these words of wisdom and for reminding me this is good practice every day! I think when you take the focus off of yourself, you the open door to deeper understanding and acceptance of others (your “offenders”) and what they may be going through.

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