“But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way I can take this personally.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
When something feels like it is personal, it can be quite a challenge not to take it so. Recently I was told a little tale about someone I know who decided to throw my husband under a bus for something that was absolutely 100% not his fault. As the perceived threat to my husband’s name washed over me it began to translate to anger (as anger is secondary to pain or fear), and I went from zero to ten in about 2 minutes (which is actually an improvement for me) and I felt myself getting PISSED.
Like the throw down, swords out, guns blazing type of mad. My inner hood rat, gangsta, East Coast made itself known as I ushered a stream of swear words directed towards someone who, in that moment, was the focal point of this perceived wrong being inflicted upon my dear husband. I was ready to go to war!
Then I realized what was occurring.
I was taking something personally that had ZERO to do with me. It didn’t even have to do with my husband. Do you know how I know it didn’t have to do with us, even though it seemed like a personal attack?
Because it never does! Nothing anyone else does ever had to do with us. It is always, 100% of the time, a direct reflection of where they are at any given moment.
So now that my ego has nothing to be offended or hurt by, I can see that the behavior being demonstrated by someone I thought was a friend, is really just a window into their pain and suffering, and that gives the whole situation a entirely new perspective.
What happens when we take things personally?
When we take things too personally, we make ourselves more vulnerable to hurt feelings, anger, frustration and unhappiness. Taking things too personally is like placing a heavy load on our back and why the heck do we constantly choose to carry around other people’s sh*t?! We set ourselves up to carry a bunch of crap that isn’t even ours.
And the worst part is that we all have those people in our lives who will (consciously or unconsciously) dump it all over us because they either (a) have no idea they’re doing it, or (b) have no ability to take responsibility for where they’re at it life.
Either one deserves our compassion despite the whispers of our ego to be angry and offended by the perceived slight.
Whatever you do, don’t take it personally. Don’t make their pain your pain. Don’t make their darkness your darkness. Help them if you can, by giving them your love, compassion and understanding, and by helping them understand that love is their true nature, while fear is nothing but an illusion. And if that’s something you can’t do, make sure you don’t feed their pain by reacting in unkind and unloving way, and by confusing the behavior with the person, for that would only create more suffering into their lives, and into your own life. As challenging as it may be, don’t feed into it.
“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
When you find yourself sinking into offense or hurt feelings, use these 7 tips to stop taking things so personally:
- Is this true? What is true in this situation.
- Consider for a moment if what is occurring actually has to do with you or not. Or are you just the person who ended up being there at the wrong time. Put the feelings aside for a moment and think rationally and analytically.
- Ask yourself why you are hurt. Why are you allowing the situation to hurt you?
- Pause. Don’t jump to conclusions. What you’re assuming you know is most likely clouded by emotion.
- If you find yourself stewing over what happened, bring your focus to something else. Read a positive book, go help someone who needs it, hang out with some animals (especially dogs), or do something to bring your attention elsewhere. Take your mid off the event until a later time.
- If needed give yourself space. Go for a walk or workout, connect with nature or the water element, do a yoga flow, or call someone and see how they’re doing. These tasks boost self-esteem and confidence which will bring the perceived massive problem into a more realistic perspective.
- Repeat this mantra: “Not my circus, not my monkeys. That’s all bout you, not me.” It usually hurts because we care what people think….which is a setup.
Why do we care so much?
In The Tao Te Ching there is a wise line that says: “Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”
The truth of the matter is this: Once we care about what others think of us, and we chase after their approval and validation, we take everything they say and do personally, we immediately become their prisoner and slave. And I say, “F*ck that!” Do not allow another person to put you in that position.
We can remind ourselves that what people think or say about us, is none of our business. And that their negativity has little or nothing to do with us, but rather everything to do with who they themselves are and where they are at.
“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
Respond with love and you will never be sorry.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte-Jones