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The Goal within Your Control:
Being Loving and True!

aSocial Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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Certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean spirited things
do occur in our interactions with other people that would tempt us to take offense.
However, ultimately it is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me.
Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false.
To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted
or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

- David A. Bednar

*    *    *    *    *    *

Free Will Is Not as "Free" as You Think:
Choosing to Be Offended at Offensiveness

by Matt Moody, Ph.D..  

Assumptions of Positive Attitude suggest that NOT taking Offense, when others are Offensive, is merely a matter of choice. Positive Affirmations sound like this: "I choose not to be offended by others; I refuse to surrender my power to other people." And though you chant this affirmation a thousand times, you will still blow up and become offended when your buttons are pushed just right.

The degree to which you have buttons to push in the first place,
is measured by what I call your "P.Q." — Provoke-Ability Quotient.

Why do you become offended even when stainless-steel-will-power is applied?

Being Offended IS ultimately a matter of choice, but it is NOT always a matter of choice in the moment that you are irritated or abused. This is because E-Motion, or Energy-In-Motion, is already rolling down the mountain, due to choices made in prior days. So in moments of severe provocation, your P.Q. Threshold will likely be breached, and from that point, your re-actions are on auto-pilot according to choices made in prior days.

The vicious cycle I call the Offensive-Offended Collusion is often a circular chicken-and-egg conundrum as to its origin — both parties typically see the other person as the first Offender. But "who offended first?" ... "who started it? ... are irrelevant questions for emotionally healthy people. Those who live in harmony and peace will own their stuff — regardless of who started it.

        The Division of Response-Ability:
         If It Comes Out of You . . . It is Yours!

OFFENSIVE                                                 OFFENDED

While offensive behavior may necessarily Capture your
Attention, the hurtful actions of others cannot
Cause the Character of your Response.

Emotionally healthy people will NOT seek to blame others for their bad behavior; instead, they will live by this important principle:

The Division of Response-Ability:
If It Comes Out of You, . . . It is Yours.

Instead of owning their stuff, emotionally unhealthy people fall for the Cause & Effect Illusion — they actually believe that the Offensive Behavior of Others CAUSES their response of being Offended (and it often feels that way when compelling abuses press directly upon you). Some mistakenly assume that their personal choice, their free will, is vetoed by an abusive, Offensive Act.

To be clear, Cause & Effect is real in terms of tangible things that come in physical contact. But short of tangible contact, linguistic relations between human beings do not happen this way — linguistic relations are meaningful, and not mechanical. This, communications that involve no physical contact are governed by the principle of Constraint & Response . . . and not Cause & Effect.

Side Note: You might be asking yourself: What about situations when physical contact occurs to a human body? Does Cause & Effect apply then? The answer is Yes and No! Yes, in terms of effects caused to a physical body, but No in terms of constraints upon Heart and Soul. The latter scenario is the "Final Freedom" spoken of by Viktor Frankl.

Being Response-Able means that you and I are Able to Respond according to our choosing, according to our free will. Human beings are Response-Able for all premeditated actions, and even all unwitting reactions — to include every thought, behavior, motive, and emotion.
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 20)

* * * * *
In this Life, I am not only Response-Able for all
Thoughts, Words, and Deeds that proceed from me,
but my Highest Response-Ability is to ultimately learn to
answer every adversity with the Motives & Emotions of Love.
 * * * * *
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 240)

A Burning Question about Free Will

Why do some people choose to be Offended, while other people choose not to be Offended?

Most often, being Offended is a Reaction that is NOT chosen in the moment; a Reaction that squirts out involuntarily as a consequence of E-Motion, Energy-In-Motion — it's called a Knee-Jerk Reaction. A Reaction that squirts out today, due to a genealogy of choices made yesterday.

You absolutely cannot escape the consequences of yesterday's choices: Choice made in prior days create "habits." And when a pattern of choices is particularly entrenched over a period of time, this cumulative genealogy of choices creates "addictions."

So here's the intrinsic trap you are in: the very condition of your disposition is naturally self-perpetuating. You tend to reinforce who you are today, because who you are presently IS the one doing the thinking, perceiving, responding . . . and choosing! This explains why people behave in consistent habit patterns.

In other words, how can you possibly think fresh new thoughts using your stale old mindset? I call this trap Einstein's Mind Bind: "You Can't Change your Mind, using a Mind that needs Changing. You Can't Fix a Situation, using a Mind that needs Fixing!" (Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 175).

Breaking out of this self-perpetuating bind requires that you become a new creature from your core. This is where Changing Your Stripes offers an Insight that is routinely ignored by a head-heavy, secular psychology. The Insight is well expressed by legendary trumpet player Louis Armstrong:

"If ya ain't got it in ya, . . . ya can't blow it out!"

Free will choices are NOT as free as most imagine: Truth is, you cannot really choose to think certain thoughts or do certain deeds, unless You "got it in ya" to "blow it out." In other words, all choices to think and do and feel . . . flow from your Abundance of Heart. This means. if a Heart of Positive Peace is not IN YOU, then peaceful and positive thoughts, words, and deeds will not come out — no matter how hard your Head tries to convince and contrive otherwise.

In order to become a new kind of creature — like a tiger changing her stripes — that change must originate from your core, it must be a genuine change from the Heart. This is the only change that matters. C. Terry Warner writes:

* * * * *
"The only change that matters is a change of heart,
every other change alters us cosmetically but not fundamentally,
modifies how we appear, what we do or what we say,
but does not change who we are."
 * * * * *
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 267)

* * * * * * *

The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274).

The book, "Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim), and
the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of communicating
with calm, even as storms of contention swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true,
then . . . this book is for you!

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Changing Your Stripes is a
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Changing Your Stripes

Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor


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