Are you overly concerned with the opinions of others? Some people take this tendency way too far and are offended by the slightest perceived insults. Such a negative perspective results in feelings of anger and sadness. Fortunately, most people don’t have such ill intentions.

Avoid taking offense without good cause:

1. Understand that it’s not about you 99% of the time. In most cases, the other person is in a bad mood, having a bad day, not intending to offend you, or just a jerk. There’s no reason to get upset by any of these situations. It might hurt a little, but it’s not about you at all.

2. Strengthen your self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem are more easily upset than those that feel more confident about themselves. There are plenty of books and websites dedicated to self-esteem and self-confidence. Raising your self-esteem can be a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it.

3. Avoid making assumptions. You must make some assumptions in order to be offended. At the very least, you must assume that you know the other person’s intentions. Often, you do not. Either assume the best or ask for clarification. You can avoid a lot of drama if you can stop making assumptions.

4. Watch your inner voice. When you notice yourself getting upset, ask yourself “why.” Determine if you really have a good reason. Did the other person mean what you think they meant? Could you be wrong? What is he trying to say?

5. Remember that you offend people all the time. Your taste in clothes, music, or religion are offensive to some. You may have offended someone when you said you didn’t like a particular movie. Did you mean to be offensive? Is it possible the other person is being too sensitive? Is it possible you’re being too sensitive when you feel offended?

6. Learn to be detached from the opinions of others. Others can offer helpful advice. However, that doesn’t mean you have to take everything others say to heart. Consider the merits of what was said without the involvement of your ego. Gain what you can from the comment and then let it go.

7. Give others a break. No one is perfect. You’ve misspoken at times or had a bad day. Give others the same consideration you’d like to receive when you misspeak. Most people are doing the best they can each day.

8. Give yourself a break. Avoid jumping to the worst possible conclusion each time you hear something you don’t like. Think enough of yourself that you can make more positive assumptions.

9. Be a better listener. If you’re offended, you’ve stopped listening and climbed into your own head. You’re so busy trying to figure out what it all means that you’ve stopped paying attention. Good listening skills will minimize your sensitivity.

You can choose to respond differently than you have in the past when someone says something you take personally. Feeling offended is a choice. You can choose other options.

Make your self-esteem a priority. You’ll be offended less frequently if you feel better about yourself. Raise your impression of others. Most people aren’t trying to give you any grief. Everyone says the wrong thing occasionally. Maybe it was just your turn to hear it.

Give everyone, and yourself, the benefit of the doubt. You’ll find that your days are more rewarding.