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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karin Anderson Abrell

No One Can Offend Me Without My Permission

I didn’t always believe this.

Like many of us, I’m a sensitive person. So sometimes when people say or do insensitive things, I feel disrespected or offended.

Then I think of the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

No one can make me feel inferior. No one can offend me. No one can make me feel anything at all—without my permission.

I know it’s hard. The urge to get offended and defensive is a strong one. It’s a natural reaction—an effort to protect ourselves from what feels like an attack.

But I look at it another way.

When I take offense, I give people power over me. I decide their opinion of me matters.

Why would I do that?

If someone is so insensitive and rude so as to say something unkind, why would I want to give a person like that power over my emotions? Why would I give him/her permission to make me feel inferior—or make me feel anything at all?

So, I take back the power by refusing to take offense.

Think about the expression itself—“I take offense to that.” If we choose to take offense, we can also choose not to take offense.

I’m not claiming to be perfect at this. My feelings still get hurt, of course.

But I recognize that no one has actually hurt my feelings. I’ve chosen to allow my feelings to be hurt.

So I channel Eleanor Roosevelt and remind myself—no one can offend me without my permission.


Photo Credit:  Darren Nana 

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