Editor’s note: This post was written by Shemsi Prinzivalli.

There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones have known for centuries. They rarely talk about it, but they use it all the time, and it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called The Fine Art of Not Being Offended.

In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date. In other words, the majority of people in our world say and do what they do from their own set of fears, conclusions, defenses and attempts to survive. Most of it, even when aimed directly at us, has nothing to do with us. Usually, it has more to do with all the other times, and in particular the first few times, that this person experienced a similar situation, usually when they were young.

Yes, this is psychodynamic. But let’s face it, we live in a world where psychodynamics are what make the world go around. An individual who wishes to live successfully in the world as a spiritual person really needs to understand that psychology is as spiritual as prayer. In fact, the word psychology literally means the study of the soul.

All of that said, almost nothing is personal. Even with our closest loved ones, our beloved partners, our children and our friends. We are all swimming in the projections and filters of each other’s life experiences and often we are just the stand-ins, the chess pieces of life to which our loved ones have their own built-in reactions. This is not to dehumanize life or take away the intimacy from our relationships, but mainly for us to know that almost every time we get offended, we are actually just in a misunderstanding. A true embodiment of this idea actually allows for more intimacy and less suffering throughout all of our relationships. When we know that we are just the one who happens to be standing in the right place at the right psychodynamic time for someone to say or do what they are doing—we don’t have to take life personally. If it weren’t us, it would likely be someone else.

This frees us to be a little more detached from the reactions of people around us. How often do we react to a statement of another by being offended rather than seeing that the other might actually be hurting? In fact, every time we get offended, it is actually an opportunity to extend kindness to one who may be suffering—even if they themselves do not appear that way on the surface. All anger, all acting out, all harshness, all criticism, is in truth a form of suffering. When we provide no Velcro for it to stick, something changes in the world. We do not even have to say a thing. In fact, it is usually better not to say a thing. People who are suffering on the inside, but not showing it on the outside, are usually not keen on someone pointing out to them that they are suffering. We do not have to be our loved one’s therapist. We need only understand the situation and move on. In the least, we ourselves experience less suffering and at best, we have a chance to make the world a better place.

This is also not to be confused with allowing ourselves to be hurt, neglected or taken advantage of. True compassion does not allow harm to ourselves either. But when we know that nothing is personal, a magical thing happens. Many of the seeming abusers of the world start to leave our lives. Once we are conscious, so-called abuse can only happen if we believe what the other is saying. When we know nothing is personal, we also do not end up feeling abused. We can say, “Thank you for sharing,” and move on. We are not hooked by what another does or says, since we know it is not about us. When we know that our inherent worth is not determined by what another says, does or believes, we can take the world a little less seriously. And if necessary, we can just walk away without creating more misery for ourselves or having to convince the other person that we are good and worthy people.

The great challenge of our world is to live a life of contentment, regardless of what other people do, say, think or believe. The fine art of not being offended is one of the many skills for being a practical mystic. Though it may take a lifetime of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life.

Source: “The Art of Not Being Offended,” from

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  1. An insight into human phychology, and you Marion, have it. We all live by rules which get passed down to us by family, friends and colleagues. Unlearning these rules can be very demanding. The good news is that we never stop learning, thus we can make informed decisions. Trust your “gut” feelings, and dont forget to dance and laugh. Enjoy what you have and experience what you have’nt.
    Peace and love.
    Paul Tayler

  2. Thank you Danell Glade, for posting this wisdom, wrapped in a cloth of secrecy that is ancient.
    If I may share some of my experiences regarding feeling offended. (This Mother Superior receives her share) there’s a way to use being upset and not “waste time” being present with it.

    It’s a feminine approach (all inclusive) that includes the wisdom and awareness of the physical body.
    All emotional reactions can be used as wayshowers to the place inside of us where we left our true nature and started to believe and act on what’s coming from the outside world, an outer authority.

    As I perceive it, to make good use of being upset, for why is it present otherwise? here are a couple of suggestions, freely offered:

    – Noticing being upset and observe it. Staying with it without acting upon it in the moment as long as being upset overrules clear thinking. Choosing quality time(time alone)to sit with it and begin to communicate with feelings and one’s body. Where’s your body speaking, stirring, hurting?

    – Be compassionate and love the emotions that are present, they are our own creations. Try to approach them as children that need assistance in their confusion, welcoming a wayshower. Become aware, it may take some practice, of what’s coming back as answers, hunches and the language of the physical body.

    – One’s body is a valuable instrument to assist in finding out what’s unbalanced and what’s touched in our belief system that doesn’t like touching. Auchhh! Go away! Usually we compose our stance in life around the age of 3 and an experience that touched us deeply in a painful way may have caused a statement that is frozen in our celluar memory. In that way, something that is said by another person can become a “program” lived out by the fertilizer fear, causing one to live in distress and agony.

    – In that way, one pushes one’s own “knowing” aside and replaces it by another person’s “knowing”. It’s what damages our sense of autonomy and discernment. Confusion is like mist, one loses sight on the structure of one’s life. Approaching being upset in this way offers one a valuable tool to discern and learn what it means to “Know thyself”.

    By mentally deciding to push aside or wave away any feelings of offense isn’t working. As I perceive it, we need to involve our emotional and physical body to properly “digest” or “process” feelings of offense.
    By excersizing this practice, we may find a plus value in that as soon as we feel offended in the moment that it’s caused, we also begin to be aware more of the effect of our own reactions to others, offending them. There’s a silent voice or “knowingness” inside that begins to speak, helping us to “know” clearly when something we say is true or not.

    Asking our painbody and physical body to co-operate is equal to the invitation to begin to raise its voice, encouraging it. This is possible when we learn to invite truth as a friend. Sometimes parts of us need a nudge or, as is often experienced, a hard push, in order to wake up.

    All of this is shared coming from my personal experiences in life, mostly becoming clear beyond my 59th year. Not to say that I’m “on it” and clear all of the time. But as I say, practice makes art and isn’t it wonderful to live and make one’s life a work of art? I think that’s what we’re here for on planet Earth and what’s lived by more advanced civilisations, intraterrestrial and extraterrestrial.

    Notice the moment when freezing up is equal to being stuck in feeling offended or upset in any other way and choose to keep moving through it, always in motion. Including all that transpires and holding it in our attention and heart’s embrace.

    No navel staring, this sort of moving through is an utterly lively and inspired state of being that includes all nooks and crannies of our existence, our spiritual being, our soul present in our bones, flesh and blood. And sweat, tears 😉 Flowing of tears is a way of cleansing the nervous system and physical body, as I experience.

    This has become one of my own experiences and while I wrote it years ago in a spontaneous flow, it has become one of my favorite slogans. A wayshower that moves with me all the way:

    “It’s one of the most liberating experiences to move from resistance to surrender and see the world with changed eyes”.

    It’s fun, I notice that writing this is the best way to start my day! Writing is therapeutical to me often.
    I hope you reader will find encouragement and inspiration in it too for today and in the days to come.

    Peace be with you and with planet Earth. Blessed be, Marian Baghor.


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