Last week we began our month-long journey exploring love, and how being impeccable with our words can create or destroy relationships . This week we will look deeper at not taking things personally. This is a big one when it comes to our interactions with others, and probably the one I have to practice the most.
How many times a day do you get your feelings hurt? Some days can feel like everyone hates us, or is mad at us, or that we can’t do anything right. Recently I had an aha moment while digging deeper into this agreement, which was that something inside of us has to agree with others opinions if we are to take them personally. Going one step further, if we are not clear on who we are, and carry around issues of low self-worth on any scale, then other’s opinions are able to penetrate our consciousness. Being clear on who we are, and owning it, is paramount if we are not going to take things so personally in our lives.
In love and relationships, we take so much personally. Whether it’s our partner not meeting our expectations, or holding resentment over a friend’s comments, or even having someone look at us the wrong way– we internalize all of it, making it part of our belief system that something is wrong with us. Don Miguel says that when we take things personally we are being self-absorbed, and making the situation about us. When it fact, it has nothing to do with us. We must learn to trust ourselves and know that we are not responsible for others behaviors. When we really learn this lesson, we can begin taking things less personally going forward.
Nothing other people do is ever because of you. As I discussed last week, when we come into a relationship, we are showing up as two people with two different experiences and perspectives in life. So anything anyone ever says or does to you is their stuff, not yours.
So you may ask, “If someone directly insults me how can I not take it personally?” My answer is that even when you are being attacked on a very personal level, even then, it is only an opinion that the other person holds based on their beliefs and patterned behaviors. If you put your buttons out there to be pushed someone will surely find a way to push them. And if you don’t energetically display your buttons then people will move on to someone else whose buttons are easier to push.
So how can you begin taking things less personally in your life?
Here are 3 key ways to begin practicing not taking things personally…
First, take a step back.
We forget that when we are feeling attacked or penetrated by other’s behaviors, that we are allowed to take a step back from the situation. We don’t have to engage with others opinions and actions. So many times it is a knee-jerk reaction to become part of the drama, but you don’t have to. Begin practicing stepping back from painful interactions so you can have a new perspective on the situation at hand, and this will allow you the space to not automatically internalize and take it personally. Allowing for space to assess and disengage from the drama is key.
Second, know your buttons.
What are your triggers? Where do your insecurities lie? If we are honest, we all know where we could use some work on our self-worth. We tend to take things personally when someone finds our soft-spot and puts a dagger into it. Instead of walking around as a helpless victim, begin to know your buttons intimately. When you have awareness, you can begin to heal and work on strengthening your vulnerabilities. Then you stop taking things so personally because you are no longer in denial of your old unresolved wounds. The sting of others opinions will lessen the more we can say “Yes, I have more healing to do in this area…”
Third, live without fear.
There are only two basic emotions–love and fear. Most of what we feel emotionally falls under one or the other. When we live in fear we attract situations that mirror how we are operating internally. And the same is true when we live from a place of love. When you find that you are having more days of taking things personally and experiencing hurt feelings, the first place to look is inside. Explore where you are living in fear, and can you replace the fear with more loving thoughts towards yourself? We can’t expect others to treat us well when we don’t even treat ourselves nicely! Think about that for a moment…how many times a day do you have negative thoughts about yourself and your abilities? I bet it’s more than you are realizing. So it’s no wonder that others show up as our mirror to reflect back to us what we are already feeling inside. This is key in not taking things personally. Others cannot make you feel any way that you are not already feeling to begin with.
Practice these, and begin paying attention to how much more peaceful and cohesive your relationships become.