How does one stop taking everything personally? by @paulabillups
Answer by Paula Billups:
By realizing that nothing is meant personally.
Most of the time – like 90% of the time – people aren’t even thinking about you. The decisions they make or the things they do have everything to do with them and their situation.
Even a person who has decided to aim a personal insult at you is reacting out of a self-story or something that involves their own thoughts about themselves and their relation to you – not really about you.
It also helps to remind yourself if you find yourself taking something somebody says or does personally that there are possibilities – much more likely possibilities – to explain their behavior than the thought that they are deliberately and actively trying to get under your skin or hurt your feelings.
Simple and common example: I haven’t heard from a dear friend in a while. I can choose to take that personally and tell myself the story that they don’t like me any more and are avoiding me. Or I can tell myself, “something must really be keeping them busy. Based on our past interactions, I know they are my friend and they care about me, so they probably aren’t trying to hurt me by ignoring me. They probably aren’t thinking of me at all.”
Let’s say a couple of days later I look on that person’s Facebook page and I find out that they had a very sick family member they had to take care of or their workplace decided to move offices and they have been working twelve hour days — or, or, or. Nothing to do with me. And next time I see them they are just as friendly as ever. I can take that at face value.
Shifting your thinking in this way will give you a bit of a breather from thinking that everything somewhat negative or less than pleasant is the result of people not caring or actively working against you. In my experience, that kind of thing is extremely rare. Most of the time there are many, many things going on that you have no way of knowing about – that are not visible to you.
All the struggles and problems in your life – think of those and realize that every human being is struggling and coping with a balancing act of their own.