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Is Being A Little Bit Offended Or Hurt A Good Thing?

*“Hey, you look terrible in that outfit.

“Get out of my way, stupid.”

“You’re really bad at softball.”

“I disagree with you and the majority of people in this classroom.”

“You’re fired.”

While some of these statements may seem unfair, the truth is, if we judge by our own limited intellects, life in general does look unfair. Sometimes very unfair.

We don’t have the ability to see the total big picture, and we can only base our life choices on a combination of thoughtful analysis, emotions and faith.

That being said, it is important to stand up for what’s right when it counts. But when does it count? And when should we accept that sometimes, things aren’t pleasant or fair? And they may even hurt?

Reasoned thought tells that someone cannot stand up for themselves and/or when seriously harmful physical or psycho-spiritual abuse occurs, we have to stop it.

But while it may be right and good to stand up for others and one’s self in situations that can be dangerous either physically or psycho-spiritually, have we gone too far?

Are we fighting off even minor infractions with everything we’ve got?

Have we reached a point where even minor discomfort seems to constitute a threat to our well being?

Have we raised up a generation of people unable to deal with small offenses and other discomforts?

Bacteria and Anti-Bacterial Soap

“Antibacterial soaps and other cleaners may actually be aiding in the development of superbacteria,” warned a report in Scientific American several years ago.

In a kind of man-made natural selection of super-bacteria, anti-bacterial products, say various studies, kill off the weaker bacteria and unwittingly select for antibacterial resistant strains.  Additionally, some bacteria mutate to fight off these chemicals and now the superbugs need newer, stronger products too kill them, and we may not be able to keep up with the race, think MRSA.

What does this have to do with being offended?

Some Dirt Is Good Dirt

Some researchers theorize in what is often called the hygiene hypothesis, that when children play in the dirt, they develop resistance to some of the potentially harmful bacteria in it. Some view it as a type of inoculation or a training camp for the immune system.

The theory goes that being exposed to small amounts of harmful bacteria enable the immune system to recognize and wipe out the invaders. In other words, being exposed to a few potentially harmful organisms strengthens the body’s ability to fight off a broader range of bacteria.

A Little Bit Of Hurt

No sane, loving parent wants to see their child hurt. But the emotional bumps and scrapes of childhood offer potential lessons in life. Bullying is a terrible problem, don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise. It does real damage. But there is a difference between bullying and simple friction between peers or even an insult once or twice. (And yes, the person doing the insulting needs to learn not to insult others.) The occasional jab or jostle while unpleasant, if used as a life lesson, can actually help a child become stronger in the future.

It used to be called “character building.”

We all have unpleasant life experiences behind, and sadly, ahead of us. Accepting this, understanding that not everything is going to go to plan, that we may feel disappointed, offended, uncomfortable, and even hurt, but that these things aren’t life-threatening, makes life’s ups and downs a lot easier to deal with.

Next time you face an unpleasant or hurtful situation ask yourself:

If this is a likely temporary or at least not very serious issue, can I make myself aware of it’s relatively minor impact?

Can I get through this hurt without feeling down for long?

Can I find the positive in this unwanted experience? (If nothing else, the experience might have the potential to make you stronger.)

If the experience is traumatic (trauma and its after-effects must be acknowledged and treated), can I courageously seek healing?

*C.R. writes



Is Being A Little Bit Offended Or Hurt A Good Thing?

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2017). Is Being A Little Bit Offended Or Hurt A Good Thing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 13, 2018, from


Last updated: 28 Sep 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Sep 2017
Published on All rights reserved.