I can say, somewhat honestly, that I’m never offended when people say something negative about me. That has taken practice, and I’ll let you in on my secret. When you feel yourself getting offended by something you perceive as an insult, ask yourself why you’re mad at what was said. Wait, wait, don’t tell me! I’ll bet I know the answer on every occasion.

You’re offended because you, yourself, are insecure about the thing you are being called out for.

If you feel you’re not working hard enough but are outwardly trying and someone calls you lazy, that stings. If you fret that work is getting in the way of spending time with your children, and someone suggests you’re being an absent parent, that burns.

But if you know for certain that you’re a mumbler and someone calls out your atrocious enunciation, you agree with them and thus won’t be offended! If you know you’re a world-class ballerina and some accountant says your twirl is a little weak, you’ll know he’s either kidding or sadly misinformed and thus won’t be offended.

The only time you’re offended, I claim, is when you worry that some element of an unpalatable critique about you might be true. But in those cases, the offense caused isn’t the fault of the critic; it’s of your own making.

So, the next time you feel yourself getting riled up by something someone said about you, just stop. Because clearly, the affront rendered requires introspection at a later date, not reflexive anger in the moment.