How to not take things personal

Change How You Perceive What People Say in order to get your power back

In a time before Covid existed in my universe I wrote a piece on “Why not to take things personally“, which I now realize, is probably easier said then done. What can I say – it was a different world back then and we have all grown since. There are always great reasons why you shouldn’t do something. Why you shouldn’t drink alcohol, buy those pairs of shoes or get too excited about the possibility of winning the lottery. We all have the capability to be rational human beings and know what’s good for us, doesn’t mean we do it. So here are some tips on how to mitigate a situation when you notice you are taking things personally:

  1. The first step is to notice. Be aware and mindful of your thoughts. Catch yourself when you say things like “When he said people don’t work hard enough he must have meant me” or “They don’t like me that’s why they criticized me – everything about me is wrong”
  2. Ask yourself “Does it really matter to me what this person might think” – or “Will this matter to me tomorrow”. If so, ask yourself why you are giving someone so much power in the first place that they impact how you feel. Perhaps they remind you of someone or trigger something in you from your past. There is usually a reason and it often has nothing to do with them.
  3. Put yourself in that persons shoes. Question why they might have said or done such a thing. You might find that there are so many motivations behind something that have nothing to do with you.
  4. Remind yourself that no one spends that much time thinking about someone else. Our favourite subjects are ourselves. That’s what we like to be preoccupied with and so does everyone else. Remember when people notice or highlight something it has something to do with their needs, their insecurities and not yours.
  5. Create some space. You know when people say if you want to be in a good mood be in good company? This is that moment. Remove yourself from company that doesn’t make you feel like your best. You’ll notice you forgot what they said quicker than you thought. It will cost you less energy to forget, than to work through it.

Take a moment and try to see which tips work for you. It doesn’t come from one day to the next but it will come with time. A life worrying about what others think and what it might have to do is a exhausting life. And life is exhausting enough. Treat yourself to a world where you don’t take things personally and let me know which tips worked for you.

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