"THEY GET ON MY NERVES." When I hear someone say something like that, I think, Well, then maybe you shouldn't keep your nerves so exposed. Have you ever known someone who goes through life just looking for opportunities to ask to speak to the manager? There are people who aren't happy unless they're unhappy. Any insult or perceived slight just pushes them over the edge and they are completely incapable of overlooking an offense.

Every meal is undercooked... or overcooked; every family member has treated them badly; every business is too slow or not taking enough time with them. They are not capable of being satisfied. It is impossible to please them. They are trapped in their grumpiness as each negative thought feeds the next one. I can't imagine living that way, can you? Or maybe you can. Does this sound like you? I've known people like that and even they were tired of their own complaining. They didn't want to be that way but felt powerless to change. If this is you, you can get out of this pattern. There is hope for your happiness.

We judge ourselves by our intentions and judge others by how they measure up to our expectations. And sometimes we have some pretty unrealistic, irrational expectations. A load of expectations combined with only a dash of grace is a recipe for disappointment. Some of us are constantly setting ourselves up for disappointment with how we judge others. Very often, it's your expectations that let you down.

Isn't it fascinating how understanding we are when another person has the same struggles we have; and how judgmental we are when someone struggles with something that is not a problem for us? We seem to have very little grace when we can't relate to another person's area of weakness.

If you have a short fuse, are easily offended, hold onto grudges, and are constantly feeling like somebody done done you wrong, you can get a thicker skin.

1. PUT YOURSELF IN THE OTHER PERSON'S SHOES. If you consider the other person's perspective, you may be able to talk yourself out of being upset. Open yourself up to seeing outside of your own way of thinking and consider what the other person may be going through. It's a good place to start.

2. GIVE THE "OFFENDER" THE CHANCE TO EXPLAIN. Rather than assuming that your first impression is right, give the other person a chance to either, A-Apologize, or B-Explain how you misread the interaction.

3. BE ABOUT WHAT'S RIGHT, NOT WHO'S RIGHT.  If you dig your heels in even when faced with proof that your point-of-view is faulty, then you're more interested in looking right than actually being right. But, if what is important to you is the truth even if you're the one who's wrong, then it's easier to let go of your position of offense.

4. ACCEPT IMPERFECTION. This is a journey for every single one of us and none of us has it all together. So, don't judge someone else based on where you are, what comes naturally to you or what you think is "plain ole common sense." Accept that we are all in a different place in our growth and gifts and experience. People are going to be wrong. Let them, and let go of the expectation of perfection.

5. IT'S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU.  You do not have a bullseye on your forehead. You are not a target. Not every whispered conversation is about you. Now, people will make mistakes and some will affect you directly, but that is not an indication that you are being disrespected or disregarded. If you insist on boiling everything down to how it affects you, putting yourself in the center of every situation, you are setting yourself up for being offended. It's not about you.

It's time to stop focusing on the wrong, feeding it with constant attention. Ready for a change? It's up to you.

"A person's discretion makes him slow to anger,
and it is to his credit that he ignores an offense."
-Proverbs 19:11 (ISV)



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