Last week, I learned that I had not been chosen for a committee. Considering that I didn’t even know this committee existed, my response was interesting.
My mental process went something like this: Wow. I didn’t know about this committee. I wasn’t chosen. Why were those people chosen? Is the message that I can’t be trusted to be objective on this committee? I would be objective. I would be a good team member. Well, now I’m offended.
Luckily, one of my few good qualities is to be able to laugh at myself. And my jump from “Hey, I wasn’t chosen for a committee that I didn’t know existed and that I don’t particularly want to be on anyway” to “These folks don’t respect my ability to be impartial and trustworthy” was pretty laughable.
More than one social commentator has mentioned our propensity for being offended. And I think being offended gives a certain weight to our hurt feelings. People might expect you to be an adult about feelings and rise above them. But once you’re offended, well, that encompasses more than feelings. It can include your professionalism, your ethics, etc., etc., etc.
Always being ready to be offended can make for some pretty unhappy workplaces and relationships. Maybe it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way. Instead of being the first to be offended, how about being the first to overlook and forgive?