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Are you the kind of person who wants to pound someone over the head with a steel chair at the slightest sign of rudeness?
You smile and say hello to that stranger in the lift and they simply look at you as if you’ve just shat on their one-year-old son’s birthday cake?
I was once at a networking event several years back when I started my first company. Although my social skills were not quite as flamboyant as some of the other in the group, I still made an effort to engage with the people around me.
I got into a conversation with a tall, bearded man called John, who looked about fifty years of age. After a brief ten-minute exchange we moved on to speak with other people. Later that evening, as I was about to leave, I approached John to shake his hand. He looked at me like he had never met me before, shrugging me off to continue joking around with his colleagues.
What an absolute dick head. I stormed out of the room, took that meaningless moment of rejection, and made it personal. I kept replaying the event in my mind, over and over again, wondering what I had done wrong.
This lack of manners and disrespect often triggers a hostile internal rant, even in the best of us, while the offender in question has walked away scot-free!
These kinds of events are bound to happen to everyone at some point in their life, but the real reason why we take them personally is because of our own insecurities. We crave the approval of others, yet react badly when we get judged.
So, when you understand and believe, with every cell of your body, that you’re an epic human with so much to offer, these unsavoury situations will no longer have any adverse effects on you.
To put a stop to this pointless, self-inflicted mental suffering, I’ve come up with 3 reasons why you need to stop taking things so personally.
1. It’s Got Nothing To Do With You
There’s an awesome book called The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, in which the second agreement is all about not taking things personally.
Here’s a short quote from the book that highlights this idea perfectly:
“Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.”
The truth is, you have no idea what’s going on in the minds of others. They may be rude, disrespectful, or even offensive to you. But usually, they are dealing with their own internal troubles and are simply lashing out because that’s the only way they can deal with their problems at that moment.
2. Taking Shit Personally Is Exhausting
When you’re constantly taking every little thing personally, your life will turn into one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. This is detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, which can be exhausting. You’ve already got your own shit to deal with––why let other people control how you feel when they project their bullshit onto you?
The only thing you can control is your reaction. If someone triggers an unpleasant emotion in you, you can either hang onto it and cause unnecessary mental suffering, or you can simply let it go and continue with your life.
3. Stand Strong and Know Your Worth
When you have cultivated a healthy level of self-confidence, any disrespectful or rude behaviour will bounce off you like water off a duck’s back. At the end of the day, it’s none of your business what other people think of you. The only opinion of you that matters is yours!
As Ruiz says in his book:
“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.”
The real reason why you take things personally is that you don’t believe in yourself. You look to others for validation and approval, and when you don’t get it, your whole sense of self comes crashing down. This is no way to live.
Remind yourself of how fucking awesome you are. Know your worth and stand strong no matter what shit storm other people try to drag you in. Sometimes you will get caught up taking things personally, but the sooner you can observe what is happening in your mind, the sooner you can let it go and get back to living your life on your own terms.