I'm a very sensitive gal and have really worked hard at not taking things personally. It's easier said than done, though. When my husband was going through his winter "funk" he was irritable and snapping at me. I started to get resentful; how could he treat me this way? I was angry and wanted to stab him in the shower (lightly stab, really, just a flesh wound).
His mood had nothing to do with me and although it was not the greatest that he was curt with me (I can't say I haven't snapped at him before), it was wrong to think his irritability was my fault. I thought it was some inadequacy in me that made him this way. In other words, I made it all about me!
I thought maybe I could fix his mood and make him happy when I know damn well that I am not responsible for anyone's emotions/moods/life but my own. I have no control over people, places or things but the one and only thing I do have control over is my reactions and I reacted like a nut job.
I took my sponsor's advice and stopped taking my husband's mood personally. And I gave him the space that he needed. (I also removed any sharp objects from the house... kidding!) In due time my husband got out of his funk and miraculously no one was arrested
Work is another place I like to take things personally. Like when my boss's boss heads into his office and shuts the door. My immediate thought is, "I'm being fired. I need to get a box from the supply room and start to pack up my things." Don't tell me I'm the only one that has that thought?!
This kind of paranoid and delusional thinking is called self centeredness. And self centeredness is at the root of taking things personally. Ultimately what we really have to do is realize that the world doesn't revolve around us!
Here is a list of seven ways to stop taking things so damn personally:
1. If someone acts this way with you, they act this way with EVERYONE -- Don't think you're so unique or being singled out. If someone is being mean, passive aggressive, unkind, negative, etc., with you they're being that way with every single person in their life.
2. Stop controlling -- You're not going to change anyone. We get into a lot of trouble when we try to manage and control people. When we do this we take on others people's character defects and problems personally.
3. Have empathy -- Take into consideration what the person is going through that is treating you less than kind. Does he or she have a child who is challenging them? Do they have low self esteem? Do they have an untreated addiction? Did their boyfriend just cheat on them? Sometimes people are just nutso and need medication along with intensive therapy... have empathy for them as well.
4. Self worth -- You know I was gonna talk about self worth since I have a whole blog on it! Never let the words of other people drag you down and make you feel worthless. You're not "bad" or inadequate or not good enough. Stand strong in your personal beliefs and know that you're a rock star no matter what anyone says. If you're taking things too personally, it's a sign that you need to work on your self-worth.
5. Let it go -- This is something I'm trying to do on a daily basis. I say a fantastic "letting go" prayer every morning. I set myself a time limit on how long I'm going to be upset about what someone has said to me. I say to myself, "okay, you have half an hour to dwell on how rotten that felt." Give yourself a time limit on how long to you want to take a certain incident personally, then let it go.
6. Don't allow people to rent space in your head. This goes along with letting it go. The more you allow someone to make you upset, the more power you give them. They're renting space in your noggin. Evict them immediately.
7. Stay away from negative people -- Narcissists, egomaniacs or generally negative people have no place in your life. These toxic people are skilled at getting under your skin and like to attack for sport. Your mental health and self worth is way too important. Go to where the love and light is.