I’ll be honest, an incident in my own life prompted this blog post. Recently a family member said something to me and I took it personally. I got upset and annoyed. I took the comment as a personal insult.
Deep down I knew I was reacting irrationally after all the person never said anything bad about me personally. Yet it felt aimed at me somehow.
So I sat myself down, thought through the situation logically, and realized it wasn’t personal at all.
I also realized it was my responsibility to stop taking things personally.
Once I took the emotion out of it and understood it wasn’t personal, it stopped bothering me and I felt much happier.
That same family mentioned repeated the comment several times after that and it didn’t bother me because I understood it wasn’t personal.
So how do we stop taking things personally so we can get to the happy and content place in life?
Here are 5 ways to get started.
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Stop relating things back to yourself
This is the one I was guilty of the other day.
Someone said something complimentary about another person and suddenly I took it as a veiled insult against myself.
At the time, I was feeling tired and stressed (which is often when we are most likely to take things personally).
Once I realized that the person’s comment had NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, I felt much better.
Sure the topic was one I could relate to, but it wasn’t directly aimed at me. Because it was a topic closely related to my own life, I looked at it through my own lens.
When we take things personally we tend to relate them back to ourselves. We look at things solely from our own point of view, past experiences, and insecurities.
Remember, just because a family member raves about how great another family member is, does not mean that they are putting you down. Because your boss fusses over a coworker doesn’t mean that they don’t think you are doing a great job.
Related post – It’s Not All About You
Stop overthinking everything
I did a whole post on this one recently, so make sure you read How to Stop Overthinking.
When it comes to overthinking we can totally end up making up things that are not there!
We think or (should I say overthink) on every little conversation and every little thought and sure enough, we find something personal that upsets us.
Seriously it’s like we go looking for trouble with this one!
Overthinking makes us think people are talking about us when they aren’t.
We become obsessed that someone is mad at us and worry about what we might have done to upset them. We take it all way too personally.
And it is all so unnecessary, not to mention a huge waste of our time and energy.
Your precious time and energy can be spent on much more important things, so stop taking things personally and get cracking on the things you want to achieve.
Stop being so sensitive
I know, I know I probably hit a nerve even saying that. Sensitive people hate being told to stop being so sensitive.
I should know because I am a sensitive person.
Being a sensitive person is not a problem to be fixed. It’s not a bad thing, in fact, it’s a great thing.
Yet as a sensitive person (who’s proud of who I am), I sometimes have to admit to myself that I am being oversensitive and taking things too personally.
Even if you are not a sensitive person you can still take things personally and be too sensitive about a particular topic, person, or situation.
It helps to think logically about things. If something is upsetting you and you think you are being overly sensitive about something, take the emotion out of it and think of it from a logical point of view.
I use Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner daily and it has an excellent section that asks you to comment on your day as if you were your own High Performance Coach. I love this section (though I admit sometimes it can be a bit challenging) because it makes you step out of yourself and look at the BIG picture.
Looking at the big picture is a brilliant thing because it reminds us how insignificant lots of the things we worry about, get upset about and take personally, really are.
Looking at the big picture helps us refocus on what is important.
If you are a sensitive person, make sure you read my post – 10 Things Being a Sensitive Person Has Taught Me About Life
Stop thinking people are trying to hurt you on purpose
Sometimes what we perceive as someone hurting us is actually them just getting on with their lives and living their own values.
Hurt feelings can arise because people have different values. Different values don’t necessarily mean one person is right and the other is wrong.
Different values don’t mean one person is trying to purposely hurt the other person.
Think of it this way, you may disappoint your parents by doing something you love (like travel for instance) but you are certainly not hurting them on purpose. Their value system might mean that they prefer you to spend your money on something they consider more sensible.
Sometimes people are just going about their lives doing their thing and we take it personally because well their thing might not be our thing.
You might have experienced this in the giving department. If you are giving mainly to get something in return, it’s important to remember that not everyone has the same take on giving.
If you choose to do things for a person and expect them to do the same for you, you might be disappointed and take it personally. The wisest thing to do is give because you want to, not because you expect something back.
When you think someone is purposely trying to hurt you, you are more likely to take it personally.
Karen Marie Moning said – “Assume’ makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.”
Brilliant and so, so true.
I think most of us are guilty of this one.
We assume that someone is acting a certain way because of (insert your own assumptions here). We assume people are talking about us. We assume people are happier and more well off than we are. We assume. We assume. We assume.
And BAM we take our assumptions (most of which are not even close to being true) personally.
The sooner you stop assuming, the better your life will be. You don’t know what’s going on inside someone else’s head.
Focus on your own head and being more in control of your own thoughts and you will be much more content.
Related post – 3 Common Mistakes That Can Mess With Your Life
Let’s look at three important fundamentals to stop taking things personally.
Know your worth
Let’s get brutally honest here.
A lot of the time we take things personally is when we are feeling insecure within ourselves.
We take things personally when we are struggling with low self-esteem.
The best way to stop taking things personally is to ramp up your self-esteem and self-worth.
When you know your worth you are less likely to take things personally. Think of knowing your worth as your coat of
armor. When people throw barbs are you (both real and imagined) they bounce off your coat of armor instead of sinking in.
Read more to help know your worth –
- 12 Things to Remember When You Think You Are Not Good Enough
- 10 Ways High Self-Esteem and Self-Worth Have a Huge Impact on Your Life
- Know Your Own Worth
- Know Your Own Worth Even When it Feels like the World Doesn’t Quite Agree With You
- Know Your Worth – 10 Things To Stop Doing to Yourself
Need some additional help dealing with self-worth and self-doubt? I have a great online course recommendation for you!
The folks over at CreativeLive have an excellent online course run by Mel Robbins that you can take in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace. The course How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence is a real game-changer. I took this course myself and it helped me a lot. Read my review on the course to see how it can help you as well.
CreativeLive has a great range of personal growth and personal development course on offer so make sure you check out their amazing selection.
Closely connected to knowing your worth is knowing yourself. In fact, the two go hand in hand.
What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? What are you willing to fight for and what are you willing to let slide?
Make no mistake – not taking things personally is not about being a doormat or putting up with bad behavior. It’s not about letting people treat you badly.
It’s about treating yourself with kindness and compassion. It’s about loving and caring for yourself and not getting bogged down in all the small, petty, insignificant stuff that life throws your way.
Related content to help you know yourself better.
- Know Your Own Pressure Points
- Know Your Own Dark Side
- Know Your Own Values
- Know Your Own Weaknesses
- Know Your Own Strength
Know your emotional triggers
When you know your emotional triggers, it helps you to process and work through them when they occur.
Knowing your triggers helps you to stop taking things personally.
We all have our comments, conversations, topics, issues (not to mention people) that push our buttons. They say things that we know will upset us. Often we waste a lot of time hoping people will change, hence removing the trigger, but that often doesn’t happen and it’s our responsibility and duty to ourselves to work on reducing the impact of those triggers.
When you get honest about your triggers and start to work on them, you’ll find that things that once bothered you don’t affect you as much anymore. You’ll find that you stop taking things so personally.
Read Know Your Emotional Triggers and How to Deal with Them
In the book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, the second agreement is Don’t Take Anything Personally.
While I haven’t read this book yet, it’s definitely on my reading list! If you are looking for more stop taking it personally inspiration, make sure you pick yourself up a copy
Stop taking things personally
Do you take things personally when they really aren’t personal at all? Do you get bogged down in small things that you shouldn’t even be concerned about?
Are you ready to stop taking things personally and open your life up to more joy and happiness?
Then it’s time to get serious about your personal growth.
Focus on your growth and progress instead of taking things personally and watch the quality of your life improve.
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Read Next – 10 Best Online Personal Growth Courses