sprinkling positivity

How not to take things personally

on March 7, 2015

When someone calls us names, criticises us, makes fun of us or disagrees with us – we usually take it personally.

We take it to heart and it causes us suffering. We usually re-play that comment or situation in our minds, constantly reminding ourselves of that suffering which leads to more suffering and depression.

When we take things personally we take it as a personal attack and our ego’s instinct is to personally attack back.

For example – If I was to say your car was green, and you where to say no it’s blue. We would take the disagreement personally and argue because both our ego’s want to be right and the other person to be wrong. The argument in itself is pointless because does the car care what colour we say it is? no. Therefore who are we trying to prove ourselves to = ourselves.

It’s not easy, it actually is quite hard to not take something personally because we believe that it is personal, until we are able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

For example, When you may cook someone food and ask for their honest feedback, they may say it was bland. That will probably hurt your feelings and you may think right, they dont like me, i dont care what they think anyway, i dont like them now.

When in reality, you could put yourself in their shoes and see that they gave you what you asked for, honest feedback with good intention – so that you could learn and improve from this mistake. We have no failures in life – only when we don’t learn anything. For example you could beat yourself up and think, my dinner was crap it was a failure, i am a failure – when it actually was a great success because you learned from that experience to add some more flavour. The real failure would’ve been for everyone to pretend it was good, and you would carry on serving the same bland food.

In first instance we will usually take things personally, you might ask ‘how can I not take it personally when I have someone shouting in my face saying I did a bad job, I am useless’ etc. That is a personal attack on you, yes. But you choose whether to take it personally.

Thought a – You can choose to think ‘Maybe I am useless, i hate that person, who do they think they are talking to me like that! I’m going to give them a taste of their own medicine, see how they like it when I tell them they’re ugly and nobody likes them’

Or you can choose thought b – think ‘Wow, they are having a bad day, something is really troubling them. If it wasn’t me, it would’ve been someone else having all that negative emotion thrown at. Maybe I should show them some love and be here if they need someone to talk to’

You see, whenever someone personally attacks you it isn’t because its personal for you, its personal for them. They have some issues they need to work on, they have emotions they aren’t coping with so they need to put them out there and get a reaction. They need to argue, shout, scream, it’s unfortunate that it comes out for you, but if you weren’t there it would’ve been someone else anyway. That’s how it shows its not for you to take personally as it could’ve been anyone.

If you look at the two scenarios you can see how both would have different endings. If you where to think a – you can see how it would lead to more arguing, personally attacking each other, damaging each other and causing no good, only misery and pain.

Where as thought b – you would perhaps begin to feel sorry for this person, you cant imagine what they must be going through to have so much anger and hatred inside them. You would start to feel compassion for them and not take on board their hurtful words so it would not cause you suffering. Maybe you would in fact even give this person a shoulder to cry on and say, what really is the problem here, do you want to talk about it.

The same goes for when we are feeling angry, upset or frustrated and we take it out on someone else. Perhaps then we need to question, what is really bothering me.

These situations crop up in life daily, only when we can recognize them in ourselves and others can we begin to understand that we dont need to take personal attacks, personally. And when we are at the receiving end, maybe we should give our attackers love, care and ask them what’s truly wrong. Instead of automatically attacking them back, which only creates grief.


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