Throughout my earlier life, and plenty of my adult life, I took things far too personally. It plagued me. Today, I still have some of these feelings occur from time to time, but as a result of the exploration I have done, and the work I have done on myself and with clients and students, I’ve found a few things to be effective in this regard – this article offers the results of that experience and exploration.
“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
We are all different and think in a different manner. No two individuals are the same or have to deal with the same issues. In order to survive and then thrive in the modern world, it is vital that we learn to have resilience, a brave heart and a strong mind.
If you are someone who has the habit of taking things personally in everyday life, then you should do your best to change yourself, to update the way you think and feel. If you do not stop taking things personally, then at the end of the day you are the one who will continue to be hurt.
Things That Happen In Your Life When You Stop Taking Things Personally
For your own mental sanity, there are a few reasons why you should stop taking things personally:
Too often, we put pressure on ourselves over what someone has or hasn’t said. It does not only limit your chances for success, but it is also mentally draining and unhealthy.
When you take the things other people say and do unnecessarily personally, you hand over control of the steering wheel of your emotions, thoughts and your life to another person. They are taking up valuable space in your head. It makes your life difficult, and often brings unhappiness and suffering.
On the other hand, when you practice understanding that nothing anyone else says or does is actually about you, you become more compassionate to yourself. Being compassionate to yourself can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. Some of the benefits of self-compassion can include:
• Better self-esteem
• More resilience
• More connection
• Improved mood
• Less fear of failure
Have a read of this article for more on this subject: Why is self-compassion important? And how to advance it with self-hypnosis.
Instead of focusing on those who love and cherish us, and instead of feeding our hearts and souls with the love and kindness we receive from these people, we choose to dwell on the negativity of those who don’t like us as much, or those who have said and done careless things. Failing to realise that by doing so, not only we are wasting our precious time and energy, but we are also poisoning our minds, bodies, and souls, which by the way, it’s just not worth it. When we take things too personally, we often end up ruminating and plaguing ourselves with thoughts and feelings that continue to whirr around within us.
Read this article for more on this subject: How To Stop Rumination and Overthinking Being Your Downfall.
Think of how much happier you’d be with a new perspective. Here are some thoughts on how to deviate your mindset and adjust your interactions to live your life with more peace of mind and to stop taking things so personally.
1. Don’t take yourself so seriously:
“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard
This was a big one for me. I have always had a big sense of humour – except when it came to myself. When I discovered healthy, fun self-deprecation, much changed for me. Have you ever met someone that was laughing about themselves, that joked about their own weaknesses? Didn’t they seem to love themselves more than anyone around? These people are comfortable in their own skin and that benefits them greatly.
Taking yourself too seriously means that you believe you know who you are, and if someone attacks that or makes fun of it you will defend it with all of your pride. This is also what is often referred to by many as your ego and can be reduced by just being open-minded.
Do not think of yourself as a “fixed” person that can never change, rather think of yourself as a fluid being that changes forms, personalities and characteristics in the heat of every moment.
You have experienced this many times before. How come your friends view you as funny, cool and nice while your parents think you are bad-tempered, stupid and careless?
It’s because you adopt a different personality when you are around different people, so stop taking that one personality you have on you right now so serious! It won’t last anyway. Just be okay with being cute, stupid, funny, dorky, quirky, sexy, mean, angry, sad, and everything else. Who cares?
2. Be grateful that people are not against you:
Let’s say someone says something that makes you stand there in a bad light, and you start blaming them for it, but when you confront them, they have no recollection of doing so, and as a result you get even angrier at them.
In fact, research does suggest that we overestimate how much we may be singled out and judged by others. In truth, they really had no idea, because they are not actively trying to hurt you! Even, they probably do not even care enough about you to think far enough as to see how this makes you feel. They just say something so they can be in a better light, be viewed more charismatic or greater from the surrounding people and to boost their own ego.
“You can never take anything personally. Just a story. It’s not their fault they want to kick you and it’s certainly not yours. It’s just the way things are. Sometimes you need to hear the worst, so you have no fear in what you do and learn to work around the what-have-you.” ― Initially NO, Percipience: Outside the Range of Understood Sense
It has nothing to do with you, they just do it for their own sake and probably do not even care about your feelings, and yes, of course that is horrible, but let’s be honest; do we really have the time to think about every person around us every time they say something?
Of course not! They probably don’t mean to offend you, they are just focused on themselves and being viewed better by others.
3. Think About the Other Person In Different Terms:
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” life coach Lukas Schwekendiek reminds us that what people say is a culmination of their own life experience, and is also something people like my Nana used to remind me of when I was a boy. Lukas says that what other people think the most about is what they will tend to remark on, even if it’s not something that matters to you.
“When someone is cruel, harsh, mean, to not take their words personally is one thing, but to hear the silent cry within those words is another. This sort of perspective can not only liberate us from crippling self-doubt in the face of criticism, it can also liberate us from automatically becoming blind participants in the interaction patterns that the cruel person has become accustomed to—a favour we do for the other person as much as for ourselves.” ― Vironika Tugaleva
Give some thoughts to your
relationship with the person who hurt you. Ask yourself if this is a
relationship that’s important to you and whether their approval is really
necessary. Then ask yourself whether the way this person communicated was
simply their way of talking. Often, those who make you feel bad make everyone
feel poorly just because their method of delivery lacks tact or discretion.
Likewise, there might be something else going on with them. They may be communicating out of a place of fear, for example. They may be scared. If you are going to think about the other person, then consider things from an alternate angle before letting it go.
4. Remember That You Can’t Please Everyone:
It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and why would you want to be? No matter what you do and who you are there is always a person who will dislike and criticise you. You cannot change the opinion of such people; all you can do is to be yourself. It is such a relief to know that inside yourself. At the end of the day all that matters is who you are. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Don’t necessarily change just because some people don’t like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you!
“When you let it get personal, the cost becomes personal too. You’re opening your own heart here. You sure you want to do that?” ― Michael Marshall Smith, Stories: All-New Tales
Also, Allow yourself to be vulnerable by expressing what you feel when someone hurts you. When you have a misunderstanding or disagreement with your friend, talk to them and sort it out instead of living with an upset heart!
5. Stay Healthy and Well-Rested:
Recent research by Henry and Kamila Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, suggests that high-functioning autistic individuals are more likely to take things personally. According to the researcher, it is not a social deficiency but, rather, a hypersensitivity to experience that enables them to do so.
“A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
You probably know it to be true: When you’re tired or haven’t eaten well, you’re more sensitive. It’s harder to let go when you are not feeling your best. So adopt healthy habits to stave off elements of depression and anxiety, which can make other people’s opinions hurt even more. As you commit to good health, draw more healthy relationships into your life. Your friends who support you and make you feel good will make the negative comments of others less important.
Accept that you have no control on what a person does or says. The adage of not trying to control the uncontrollable is very true here. The only control you have is your reaction, your perception. Take advantage of the power you possess and work it toward your best interest and overall well-being.
“People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.” – Steve Maraboli
So, to sum it up, think about ‘Acceptance’. It’s something we all understand, but the day we start accepting is the day we stop caring about what others think of us, the day we start being comfortable with our own selves and the day we stop taking things personally.