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How To Decrease Being Insulted Using Reason

Updated: Feb 13

A brave anxiety

(The following article can be regarded as the sequel to this article. While the first one focuses on endurance, this one focuses on logic and truth as values. It also attempts to explain why intuition isn't always right).

(More relevant articles:


The feeling of being insulted is common in this world, and perhaps it always was. I'm specifically talking about the feeling of "being hurt". Not physically, necessarily, but mentally or emotionally. I would like to make the controversial arguement that we are not really hurt, just because we may feel like we are hurt. That is because there is a difference between what our personal experience tells us, and what was actually done.

Compare it to other emotions were the data they tell us, is false. We may feel like we have something to worry about, for example, while in reality, that something does not even exist. This way we can know that the information-part of the emotion was, ultimately, false, and thus, irrelevant. It isn't that the emotion itself has no legitimacy or whatever. It was just that the emotion decieved us, when it told us that we have something to worry about. Apply the same reasoning to being insulted, and you might find out that you have no reason to feel insulted in reality.

Emotions as of themselves have legitimacy to exist. I'd like to argue that they do not have said legitimacy, when they stand in your way to become a better, stronger and more capable self.

Thus, overcoming this feeling, or at least decreasing it, can help us a lot in our daily lives. Both in our professional and personal lives. Using the power of reason, we can reduce its influence on our mentality, thus making it less of an obstacle in our path. Doing so can open us up to more job opportunities, improve our confidence by talking to certain types of people; and so on.

We should not be governed by the fear of being insulted, for that matter. Nor we deserve to be governed by the disproportionate degree of our emotions in general. For that matter, emotions lack proportions when they overcome the actual importance of a situation. That includes being insulted, of course. Because getting into a panic attack because of an insult, does not make quite sense, does it? It does not help us, or anyone else, for us to be panicked because of an offensive remark. That's how we can know that our tendency to be insulted is too deep for our own good.

Insult (AKA, the remark itself) can be described as offensive, despicable, or humiliating content that someone creates. A middle finger is considered offensive as are other hand gestures. In Israel, we use a certain type of gesture to tell others to wait. However, in Italy, that gesture is considered offensive. That's at least what I heard back in sociology class.

Would it be reasonable to be deeply insulted by the lift of a middle finger? I'm asking because it's just a middle finger being lifted up. It really is. We need to make the difference between what our emotions tell us, and what actually happened. Correlation between the two is key to a more resilient mentality.

People may feel offended because of poor service, for example. It's like the service offended them for being poor, even though that wasn't necessarily the intention. Maybe they were trying the best they could but ended up poor regardless? Maybe the establishment lacked the necessary resources to have better employees? Maybe the employees themselves were very stressed due to overwork? Dare to question the credibility of the information told by your heart. You might find out that the heart is not always a reliable information source.

I think that being insulted is evidence that intuition is not always right. Miscommunication might occur when we rely on intuition to properly determine what the other side meant. In reality, however, they could've meant another thing completely. Therefore, relying on being insulted as evidence can lead to misunderstandings. The problem of intuition comes when it increases our bias to confirm a false premise. It's known as confirmation bias. Confirmation bias can lead to regard false information as truth. It could serve as one of the reasons people may prefer to regard fake news as the truth. Appeal to the hearts of your audience, and you can unfortunately manipulate their beliefs regarding reality.

As such, we can be manipulated by our own feelings. Judge them, and they can have less power over you.

Please take note that insults and criticism are not the same thing. That's even though criticism can be delivered in an insulting way. While criticism can certainly help us improve, I'm not sure if insults can or were intended for that purpose.

Every public figure is prone to both of those, anyhow. If you seek greater relevancy, it's imperative that you overcome being insulted, especially if you're popular. It also matters if you work in customer service, for example. Your voice deserves to be heard. Your presence deserves to be here. Do not run and hide from civilization, or even become a celibate, because your heart suffered so much. I did all the three. It was a waste of potential. It was a waste of potential because my contributions deserve to be here regardless of the false information delivered by my emotions.

Because the world does not have to be so grim and negative as your heart may tell you it is. It still have positive aspects. It still has people who can appreciate you for who you are and for what you're doing. Succumb to the incorrect data of your emotions, succumb to negative bias, and you might ignore the optimistic, colorful sides of humanity. I'm telling you this by experience.

I lost opportunities of friendship and even love because I was a celibate who was afraid of being hurt. No. No longer.

As I thought before, I don't think there's a practical purpose to being insulted. It can be explained, for sure, but what are we supposed to do with it? If you're an artist or poet, you can use it as inspiration, yes, but what other function can it serve? I'm not asking rhetorically. Feel free to propose an idea in the comments. An idea that goes beyond creation of content.

As a philosopher, I care less about being insulted and more about the content I receive to read (comments, email messages and so on). Some of you may think that sentences such as "what happened this time", or "pay attention" are offensive or arrogant. In reality, however, why does the usage of words matter more than the meaning behind them?

I'd like to propose the idea that it is the content of communication, that matters more than what that content makes us feel. At least in public and professional settings, that deserves to matter much more. In such settings our personal sentiments should be compromised in the name of getting work done. It's not easy, especially to people who are more sensitive than others, but we need to survive nonetheless. Still, our emotions deserve to be expressed more broadly, but elsewhere. That is one of the functions of true friendship and even of true love.

So, if someone asks "what happened this time", then they might just want to know what happened specifically. Why would it be offensive, beyond the fact that it's seen that way? If someone asks us to "pay attention", maybe they just want us to be more focused on a certain topic. Why be insulted by their request? Therefore, I wouldn't say that intuition, or the ability to understand without the rationale, is always correct. Perhaps it's the exact reason as to why we need to think deeply than that.

Not every emotion is true, just because it is present in our hearts (or minds, or whatever). Looking beyond the emotion is therefore necessary to better understand reality.

Are we actually being attacked when presented with words that make us uncomfortable? Obviously, feeling as if we are attacked, is not the same as actually being attacked, by fist or by weapon. Deep inside, you know this is true. Do not deny the facts. Do not deny reality just because your emotions compel you to deny it.

Why are our hearts broken? We might assume that the other side loves us as much as we do. Why are we scared sometimes? Because things might seem more horrific than they actually are. Why are we anxious or stressed? We may be worried, even if certain events deserve little concern. The same goes for great pride and for excitement, by the way.

Correlation with reality is key to a stable mentality. Submit to the exaggeration of your emotions, and you might over-estimate or underestimate reality itself. As such, deep inside, I know that the mental pain I endured for most of my life, was just that. Pain. Coming to terms with reality, has set me free again.

And even if an insult is done on purpose and we are thus offended, so what? Of course we do not like being insulted, for we do not like pain (unless you're a masochist). And even so, what are the consequences of being insulted? Must our self-esteem be destroyed? Demolished? Vanished entirely, even for some time? Must we cower and hide from the world? Must we even agree with the offender's words? After all, the information he or she delivered might be false regardless. That is why many curse words aren't even worthy of our attention.

Our mothers are not female dogs just because someone who hates us told us so. Deep inside we know that. The truth, beyond the clutter of emotion, is the key to set us free in this insensitive reality.

Some emotions do have a functional reason, like exhaustion. It serves as an indication that we might need to rest. The data we recieve when we are afraid may be justified, when we really have something to be afraid of. Like when there is a tiger or any other predetor nearby. Then, our fear can save us. It cannot save us when there is no actual threat, all because there is nothing to save us from.

We might not have direct control over the intensity of the heart. However, we can alter their effects on us using reason. To become more successful in our ambitions. We cannot move our heads without our necks. We can "move" our emotionality using the "neck" that is our mindset. Do you understand? Our control over our emotions is indirect like our control over our heads stems from our necks.

Beliefs may give things more importance than they deserve. The opposite of that, as well. Like when falling in love, like when being extremely irritated by minor things, and so on. Become aware of your beliefs and confront them, and you can partially alter and change your mentality, just like I did. Question their credibility, and strive to have beliefs that align more with the facts.

To be more objective is to not give in too much to our subjective experiences. It is to look beyond their vision. It's called meta-cognition, or the ability to think beyond our thinking.

If we're really interested in the truth, then what should matter, is reality, or what really happens or is happening. Focusing on that, can calm or intensify our emotions in accordance to the reality that exists beyond our hearts and minds. It is the practical thing to do.

With this priority in mind, we might be insulted far, far less, ultimately.

And remember: There are no human connections without some degree of suffering. In potential, at the very least. Be afraid of suffering, and you ironically may suffer even more, in isolation and in social anxiety.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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