Each person must be responsible for himself. — Galatians 6:5
As we continue our series on forgiveness this week, we take a look at Wayne Dyer’s 11th principle, which simply says “Stop Looking for Occasions to Be Offended.”
When you live at or below ordinary levels of awareness, you spend a great deal of time and energy finding opportunities to be offended. A news report, a rude stranger, someone cursing, a sneeze, a mother leaving a homeless shelter for the day, a black cloud — just about anything will do if you’re looking for an occasion to be offended. Become a person who refuses to be offended by anyone, anything or any set of circumstances.
If you have enough faith in your own beliefs, you’ll find that it’s impossible to be offended by the beliefs and conduct of others. Not being offended is a way of saying, “I have control over how I’m going to feel, and I choose to feel peaceful regardless of what I observe going on. When you feel offended, you’re practicing judgment. You judge someone else to be stupid, insensitive, rude, arrogant, inconsiderate or foolish, and then you find yourself upset and offended by their conduct. What you may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not define them. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.
Let us use an example. Years ago, I wrote a column about a 17-year-old valedictorian, Chelesa Fearce, who stood before her Georgia high school graduating class to give her speech, in which she talked about overcoming homelessness and fighting to “get the future that you want.”
According to an ABC News report, Fearce, a senior at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga., spent most of her high school career living in shelters, the occasional hotel, short-term rented apartments and sometimes the family car — when the family had one — with her mother and three siblings. She did not get offended by her circumstances, she just fought like someone drowning! She kept swimming! Take a look at a bit of her story.
“I would just pray,” Fearce told ABC News. “My mom would always find a way out of it. I would just tell myself, ‘tomorrow it will not be like this, so take your time, do what you have to do now so that you get the future that you want tomorrow.’”
It didn’t matter where Fearce lived; she always found a way to study. She recalled using a cellphone light in shelters to get her homework done.
“I’m so happy that I got through all of this and that I finally have gotten to this point,” she said. “All the studying I’ve done … you don’t know! It was crazy. I was studying science, math, everything. I’m very proud to come this far.”
Broken home, father walked away from his family, left them homeless — yet none of that really mattered. It wasn’t about what anyone said or thought of her — it was, in fact, what Chelesa Fearce thought of herself that mattered. She could have been like the mice in “Who Moved My Cheese,” always crying about what has happened to her, not making any progress, spending time trying to figure out what happened or why it happened to her.
In fact, when Chelesa was a guest on “The Lyndia Grant Show,” she, her mother and her sister shared about how they stayed focused. Though no fault of her own, she found herself in this condition, with others thinking the worst of her. She could just as easily run away from home and hit the streets to make money as a hooker, but look at how Chelesa Fearce turned out instead. It did not matter what anyone thought or said, this young lady had what she needed within!
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. Visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.