13 Sep 2012

Don’t take this personally, but…

No Comments Building Confidence, Empowerment, Fearless Living

Don't Take It PersonallyStop.  Please make a promise to yourself that you will never utter this phrase again.

Everything is personal.  Most of us feel our emotions.  We don’t logic our way through most things that are personal, we usually feel them first.  When you say to someone, ‘don’t take this personally but…’ they immediately begin trying to figure out how they should feel about what you are sharing.   I bet we can all relate to being told something, and being okay with it in the moment. But then we go home, and upon reflection, start to feel badly about it.  That’s because we get into the feeling of it, and off we go into self-doubt, making up scenarios of how to rebut this unfounded statement, shame and self loathing around the thought that it could be true… on and on…

If you can catch yourself in this trap, this is good news!  It means you can work on getting OUT of this trap.   To get OUT of the trap of feeling BAD all the time, ask yourself this question.


What? I just asked you to never utter that phrase again?! Not quite!

The key to not taking things personally is to get into the habit of asking yourself,

Am I making this personal?

The reason all the feelings come up, as in the scenario above, is because many of us have the bad habit of taking things personal.  This is a natural tendency.  Essentially we want to be able to control what people think of us and we don’t want any of those thoughts to be bad.  We yearn to be seen as we really are, the whole picture, not just parts of ourselves, and we mistakenly think we can actually control our image to accomplish all that.

When we stop and ask, ‘Am I making this personal?’ it gets us out of our fear mode that tends to come up when we need to be right, or defend, or set the record straight etc.  When those feelings are present, it is usually the absolute worst time to respond to whatever it was that triggered those feelings. When you get into the good habit of stopping, and asking, ‘Am I making this personal?’ You can start to dismantle how those feeling want you to re-act, and instead be who you want to be.

Don’t let your reactions to life define you.   We all always have the choice to be who we want to be in this world.  Seriously, even if you have the worst boss, had the worst slight from a friend, or have the most tragic luck story going, those things need not define who you are and how you are showing up in the world.

Instead, choose not to make up stories in which you are responsible for something negative, or disrespected, or whatever is making you want to re-act.  Instead, decide to actively own what you discover IS personal (we could all use a little feedback from time to time after all), and dump the junk that isn’t yours to take on.  That worst boss in the world you have, might just have the most horrific home life you can imagine, and that slight from a friend wasn’t at all about you, but about her wanting to be seen somewhere else, and your tragic luck story isn’t about you at all if it actually really was just random bad luck.

Things happen, and humans behave badly all the time.  But it isn’t about YOU.  You are about you.  Take care of your person, and don’t insert yourself into places you don’t need to be.  After all, truth is, no one is thinking about you as much as you are thinking about you.

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Beth supports people in finding solutions to everyday problems!
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