6 Ways to Stop Taking Things Personally

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

At the core, we are social beings. We tend to define ourselves by the relationships we nurture around us.

On a daily basis, we interact with a so many different people. Some are close and intimate, some are strangers. While all our interactions need to be mindful, the level of depth of the relationship directly affects the intensity of our interaction with that person.

Some people we get along with fabulously, while others not so much. Communicating and connecting with some people is harder than with others and this usually takes an emotional toll on us. THIS is where we start taking things personally, because our sensitivities to what these people say/do is heightened because of the friction that is already present in the relationship.

When we take things personally, we become sensitive to the words or actions of others or we interpret things in a negative way.

3 Factors affect our ability to take things too personally:

1} Intensity of the relationship: Close and intimate relationships, Workplace heirarchy, family etc. come in this category. As when people who we have deeper connections with say/do something it hurts deeper than when a stranger would say it.

2} Friction of the relationship: If we have had previous disagreements or problems in the past with a certain person, the communication with that person will be hurtful too. Sensitivities are heightened from the get go.

3} Our Low Self Esteem: When we come from a space of low self worth, an argument or disagreement can automatically lead us to think that we are to blame or that it is our fault. It can also lead us to feel inadequate and sometimes when unpleasant words are said, they start feeling like personal attacks which we think are true. Which is actually not the case, but our sense of low self worth makes us presume so.

Why we need to stop taking things personally?

Taking things personally is emotionally draining. It comes as a constant negative trigger to our self-esteem and makes us go into a negative spiral. Which is neither healthy nor productive to our overall wellbeing. Staying in this state can lead to unhealed, deep seated emotional trauma and can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.

Not taking things personally however, gives us more control over how we respond, over our emotions and our energy level. Not taking things personally brings with it a state of calm, no outside influence can disrupt.

Often. when we take things personally, we end up giving some people more power over us than they should ever be allowed to have. We are allowing someone to question what we feel and what we believe. We are trusting someone else to tell us who we are, instead of relying on what we know to be true about ourself, what really defines you as a person without any outside influence. In truth, taking things personally keeps us tied to someone else.

6 Ways to Stop Taking Things Personally

Most of the time when we feel like someone is pushing our buttons and we feel the need to react negatively, meaning we have begun to take things personally….I would like for you to instead consider remembering and using the following ways:

1} Understand: It’s not about you. You must understand that when someone is rude or disrespectful towards you, it’s usually a reflection of their own issues. They might be having a rough period, maybe a bad day or maybe it’s just their nature. While you always deserve to be treated with respect, that is not always the case. Just reminding yourself that their negative behaviour is not about you can save you from taking things to heart. Be kind to yourself instead of beating yourself up. It’s never ever about you.

2} Ask Yourself: Is the relationship worth it? How invested are you in the relationship with this person you are getting rude remarks from? Do you always need to agree with this person in order to keep the peace? Are you worried that the price you will pay for disagreeing with this person will be very high? Is this person’s approval so important to you? Is keeping the other person happy, instead of speaking your truth, making you happy?

3} Shift Your focus: Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try and understand where they might be coming from. Perhaps they have had some recent problems and they are just projecting it onto you. Perhaps they are like that with everyone else too, not just you. Perhaps they lack the emotional sensibility and are hence rude or hurtful. All in all, the reason’s can be many, but these scenarios give you a shift in focus and bring you out of self blame.

4} Breathe: Space out your reactions. Usually when we are being attacked with negative behaviour eg. insults, rudeness etc. our immediate reaction is an emotional one, because we are hurt. But an alternative to reacting is to first breathe. Take ten deep breaths and assess the situation before you react. This way you’re giving your emotions time and space to air out within yourself first, before they actually come out into the world. Many a times it so happens, that our reactions are counter-intuitive and can lead to deep personal regret. Hence, spacing your reactions is the more positive choice.

5} Clarify: Talk it out. When you understand, shift your focus and space out your reactions…you gain a certain semblance of clarity. This is when it is ok to ask this person what is truly the matter. Sometimes, simply asking them to explain the situation is enough for both of you involved to calm down and understand where the negativity was actually coming from. You’ll be surprised how many times, something as simple as miscommunication can lead to unfortunate disagreements. Clarifying your stance and explaining your intention is usually a good way to clear the air.

6} Grow Your Self Worth: As I mentioned before, there are many many people we all meet on a daily basis…some we get along with and some we don’t. Even after you trying to do your best to be clear and calm, if the other person doesn’t understand, you should know you did your best and that there was nothing more you could’ve done. This sense of surety only comes when you can grow your own self worth in your eyes. When you come from a space that is self loving and kind, you will be sure that you did your best and hence there is no need to take things personally.

Let’s be honest, relationships will always be at the forefront of our lives. They will always have influence over us. In most cases, these relationships are ones we want in our lives, because they make our world a happier space. They lift us up. That being said, when you truly know yourself and love yourself, outside influences will not waiver you from the decisions you want to make, from the life you truly want to lead. This is when you will stop looking for outside validation and live a life totally on your own terms.

Where is the energy then to take things personally? Our energies are busy being used in far more rewarding pursuits instead. Right? 🙂

❤ What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have any special ways you use to not take things so personally? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. ❤

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8 thoughts on “6 Ways to Stop Taking Things Personally

  1. Nilima

    Dear Mam, really very Happy to see you in my inbox.. Thank you so much.. Please keep in touch and send me enthusiastic positive thoughts which helps me to live life happily..


  2. debraoakland

    You know what I realized…it’s really not about me when someone is rude or behaves in a negative way. Once I ‘got it’ my perspective changed. Be kind, do no harm, and realize that those who may disrespect you are really pointing the finger back at themselves. Our energy is too important to waste on negativity.

  3. Ruthie Lewis

    This is really helpful Zeenat!! It is very true and I will be stealing some of your points inserting them in some of my teachings! 🙂

  4. Thanks Zeenat! Again very helpful. This is one situation all of get stuck at some point in our lives “Taking Things Personally” But your article has given wonderful guideline on how to handle it efficiently and move on. Yes! we need not get back on every thing in life..

    1. Hello Zeenat.
      This is a very nice article you have written and the tips suggested are very practical. Another thing which I try to remind myself during such situations is, that all the events occuring in our lives are neutral and its the type of “our reaction” to them which makes them either positive or negative . If we stay calm and neutral at that instant, such situations are totally powerless.
      But its all easier said than done and sometimes, we do get upset in such situations but we must remember that if we are able to control our reactions in even one such incidence, it will have a LONG LASTING positive impact on our psyche and then, in future, it will become much easier for us to remain calm during such instances.

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