The other thing I've been trying to put into effect is not taking it personally. This one I've been considering rather more as a general policy since it came up in a discussion over at Richard's a while ago. It's often a glib thing to say, 'Oh, don't take it personally', forget it, you're being touchy, and has often seemed to me a lazy way of not facing the fact of someone else's unacceptable behaviour; the corollary is that the hurtful thing was not meant personally, the taking of it that way is the fault of the person at the receiving end. Often this is true, but sometimes something is intended - just because you're paranoid...
Even so, the counsel (of perfection, of course) that one is better not construing things as personal affront as far as possible still holds. If someone has something to say to me of importance but is doing so obliquely, being deliberately ignorant of their meaning places the onus on them to be more direct, which seems reasonable. If the matter is not of importance it's better to ignore it anyway. Meeting offence with cheerful equanimity, even if it isn't what you are immediately feeling, takes the power from the offence.
This decision to grow a thicker skin, as it seems, the refusal to go down the path of inferring an increasingly complicated set of motives and intentions, which may or may not be present, in others' behaviour, conflicts, of course, with my idea of myself as a sensitive, imaginative, intuitive person. However, sensitivity has two sides. Formerly the word 'sensitive' was used much more negatively, as meaning proud, touchy, unreasonably reactive, as it is for Meredith's egoist, Willoughby Patten, who is so utterly, selfishly obsessed with his own amour propre and anything he perceives as an affront to it that he is cruel, controlling, monstrous, riding roughshod over the feelings, needs and wishes of everyone else.
Attempting to be sensitive to the feelings of others, and acting accordingly, seems a better idea.
Even this though, can perhaps lead one into error, since again it is based on construing the way another persons mind is working, and which of us can always do that? And it can finish up that one is forever taking responsibilities for others' feelings. Sometimes I've found when one has troubles or is feeling raw, it's more comfortable and comforting to be around fairly oblivious people who carry on regardless and aren't walking on eggshells. Years ago, a not particularly close friend whose mother had been very ill for a long time, so we had stopped always asking how she was, came round one evening with her boyfriend, apparently no different from usual, stayed for a while, we had a laugh and talked about food. Later we found out her mother had died that day, and we were probably the only people in her circle of acquaintance who didn't know . I was mortified, and went straight to see her, and express how sorry I was to have been so apparently insensitive, etc. She said no, in fact it had been a lovely, relaxing evening, exactly what she needed. But thenceforward it was difficult between us, we were awkward and tongue-tied and embarrassed.
Perhaps positive, useful, non-egocentric, creative sensitivity is something like humility; it is only acquired by not trying to acquire it.
Another thing worth considering, what's in it for me in being the offended party? Another anecdote: a neighbour we had, a bright, attractive woman doing a good job of getting on with her life after divorce, cultivating friends and interests, on good terms with her ex-husband, for her teenage daughters' sake but also because she didn't see any point in not being. When we were talking of these things, I remember her saying "It does suit some people, and I have to say it seems to be women especially, to remain aggrieved. "
I hate the idea of being the hurt victim, finding it degrading and humiliating to the point where I deny and reject my own hurt rather than sit awhile with it, and consequently, I think, I suffer more in the long run. But I'm pretty good at aggrieved, and I think I do righteous indignation rather well too.
I don't know why some have to struggle so much more than others with these kinds of negativity, early experience of course accounts for most of it, but observing small children has led me to the conclusion, and I don't think I'm alone, that some people seem simply to come in with more 'baggage'. What we do about it is up to us.
Anyway, for me at the moment, any chafing disgruntlement is way, way more than outweighed by all the truly wondrous things, moments, people in which my life currently abounds. Counting my blessings constitutes a full time job.