Take things personally. Don’t let nobody tell you different.
Since you were born you’ve have been taking things personally. If you’re 25 or 46 or 72, this is what you’ve been doing. It might even be a habit. However, it’s not an accident, and you’re not alone.
You see, we didn’t get here on our own. The human race has been around for thousands upon thousands of years. The earliest fossils of humans, date back 200,000 years. Human genes have been passed on for thousands of generations. And guess, what? I guarantee you our ancestors were taking things personally too.
Why take things personally? Probably because you’re a person. How else would you take it?
(gives a look: duh)
Side note: Throughout the ages, various “sages” have intensely worked on this problem. It might have gone something like this.
Disciple: What is the Self?
Sage: The Self is everything. There is nothing that is not the Self.
Disciple: But I don’t feel like I’m everything. Why can’t I feel it?
Sage: Because you are identified with your body and your mind.
And that is all of us, isn’t it? We all have a personality and a history and memories and likes and dislikes. Maybe you are Joe who drives a Ford and loves ice-cream. Maybe you are Suzy who always chooses lousy boyfriends. Maybe you are Jose and your thing is hiking through canyons in the desert. Whatever it is, we all identities. We are attached to those motherfuckers like a teenager to his iPhone.
“We take things personally because we have no choice. That is who we are. So go easy on yourself. “
Various people through the ages have claimed to have realized their “oneness” with everything, and cease identifying with their ego. Others have spent their lives trying to get rid of this identification. However, there are only a handful who have even claimed to have achieved this. Then there’s the rest of us.
We take things personally because we have no choice. That is who we are. So go easy on yourself. But I must say this. If you constantly take things personally, you will create misery for yourself and others.
With that in mind, here are some tips that will remind you to sit back, relax and NOT take things so personally, if only for a brief moment. These brief moments are pure gold, so it’s worth working on. Here goes:
What Other People Think of You Isn’t Your Business
Most of us make it our business what other people think. We take care of our bank account, we clean our house, we pay our bills. We figure we also need to take care of (manage) what other people think of us. If you don’t learn it from me, learn it from life. If you live long enough, you’ll come to the realization that managing other people’s impressions of us is a complete waste of time. I cannot emphasize that point enough. A complete waste of time.
” If you constantly take things personally, you will create misery for yourself and others.”
Other People Are not Reacting to You
People react to their own perceptions, not you. As neuroscientist David Eaglemen explains “We are trapped in this very thin slice of perception,” Neuroscientist David Eaglemen explains in his 2015 TED Talk.
He goes on to say that “even on that thin slice that we call home, we’re not seeing most of the action that’s going on.” The fact is, most of us react primarily if not entirely to our own subjective perceptions. Long story short — it’s not about you. It’s about them. Which leads us to..
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
When another person gets pissed at you for something you didn’t do, keep this in mind. In their mind (perception) there is a perfectly good and justifiable reason for them to be angry. You have no idea what it is. Instead of concluding that they’re an asshole, ask them to explain. Did I say something? Did I do something? What was it? Be specific. And keep this in mind. Their emotional response is about what they perceive. Not what you are.
“If you live long enough, you’ll come to the realization that managing other people’s impressions of us is a complete waste of time.”
Breathe Deeply and Reflect on the Interaction
When you have a troublesome encounter with someone, give yourself a moment. Take a few deep breathes and get as calm as you can get. Then try to think about the other person’s perspective. What have you done or said that they might have taken exception to. Why might they be upset? That leads us to the final point.
You Might Be an Asshole
Join the club. We all act like asshole from time to time. None of us are perfect. We all have flaws and blind spots which lead us to act in irrational ways. These blind spots make us say and do things that are stupid, hurtful and even mean. Realizing this, check in and take the feedback you’re getting as an invitation to reflect. In this way, you really should take things personally. Then find out why each person is reacting the way they are. This will lead to greater understanding and fewer conflicts.
Featured image by Ryan Hyde : Flickr.