The Uncomfortable Truth About Taking Things Personally

We’ve all heard the phrase “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally.”  Easier said than done. Right?!

However, learning to achieve this has totally changed my life and made it easy to survive any family, business or life situation. Which is why I want to give this gift that was given to me to you!

Don’t take anything or anyone personally.

I’m sure we’d all agree that this is a good rule, but wow, trying to put this into practice when a family member has just gotten on your LAST NERVE or a business client is driving you crazy, can be really challenging!

A perfect example of this was when I left my corporate management position to follow my life passion and start my own business – and my husband was not totally on board. He knew I was super-successful in corporate leadership and development but made comments like – “What if you don’t get clients, you’re leaving a 6 figure job with no guarantee.  Are you sure you want to do that to us?” Ugh…

So what happens when we hear a comment like this? Well, years ago I would have gotten all pissy at my husband and tried to defend my point of view … and been seriously offended that he could even say something like this to me!

But what I’ve learned from don Miguel Ruiz (who wrote The Four Agreements, one of my very favourite books) is that every person sees the world from their personal point of view.

And they interpret what they see and experience in their own way. Even though we’re all living in the same time frame and have similar socialization, what exists in our minds is not at all alike.

Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about you is really about you, but it is about them.

When I truly understood this a BIG lightbulb came on.  Whatever others think, whatever they feel, I know is their problem, not mine.  It is the way THEY see the world.

As a result of this we can only express what we believe. So of course, my husband can only see me through the eyes of HIS own experience.

Knowing this, I can have more patience and understanding for the things that the people around me are saying and doing – including my husband. I can see that they’re expressing themselves from the world that exists in their own mind and I don’t need to judge them.

This allows me to listen to their words and appreciate their point of view without emotion. I can have a respectful exchange of opinions and ideas, and not argue or agree with them.

But if I’m inflexible about my point of view – I’m expressing my self-importance and egocentric nature, and this can only result in conflict with others – which is why in the greater world we’re always at war.

It took me a while to realize that the reason I was taking my husband so personally was because I wanted him to feel the way I wanted him to feel. I was taking offense because I was feeling that he was thinking so little of me and didn’t think I could make it.

I just wanted him to accept me the way I am and love me unconditionally. And I wanted him to see me the way I wanted him to see me – as a strong and capable woman.

Plus, on a deeper level there was a part of me that believed that what he was saying was the truth …. and that hurt. Ouch!

What I’ve come to learn is that when you take things personally, you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. My reactions are a projection of my own beliefs. What I say, what I do, and the opinions I have are according to the beliefs I have – and those beliefs have nothing to do with the other person.

I remember saying to my husband, “Why would you say that, you are hurting me.”  But what I discovered is that it’s not what he is saying that is hurting me; it is the wounds that he has touched by what he said that is hurting me.  And in the end, I am hurting yourself.

I also realized that if I want others to have unconditional love for me, I have to have unconditional love for them – even if I don’t agree with their point of view.

And for me to not take anything or anyone personally I had to also have absolute faith and love for myself. Then it wouldn’t matter what anyone said to me…whether it was an insult or even a compliment!

Learning and understanding this agreement has given me so much freedom and joy in my relationships with others. Finally, I can be happy no matter what anyone says or does to me even if society might judge those actions to be unacceptable.

I know people are just expressing what they believe to be true and I don’t have to give my happiness away arguing and defending my point of view.

I encourage you to fill your heart with joy and grace and not to take anything personally in your life or business! Give it a try and let me know how you do!