4 ways to stop taking things personally
If you heard your colleagues whispering would you assume it's about you? When your boss is in a bad mood do you worry it's something you've done wrong?
Then I'm sure you're aware that you're taking things personally. One of the reasons we do this is because understandably, we are often at the centre of our world.
We see experiences, situations and others from our own perspective. We look at the world through the googles of our own thinking at that moment.
So it's not surprising that we get hurt by others behaviours or angry when things don't go our way. When people behave towards us with a lack of respect as we perceive it, then we feel undervalued and unworthy.
Ask yourself the question though, is it really about me?
Imagine you're standing next to a colleague whilst you get your coffee and making small talk, but you're getting very little response or eye contact. Would you feel hurt and rejected at their rudeness or would you just think they're having a bad day?
What if a client calls you and is aggressive and demanding, would you feel offended and disrespected or would you be curious about what was going on in their world?
Sometimes it really is something we've done that upsets someone else. Perhaps we've made a mistake and they are angry and annoyed. Then it must be personal, or is it really?
Is the magnitude of their reaction all down to what we did? Actually, it says more about their personal thinking, experiences and current situation.
How do you stop immediately taking things personally?
1. Remember - everyone is doing their best
Try to remember that everyone is doing the best they can with the thinking and resources they have. If someone is rude or disrespectful it usually means they're in emotional pain. Having this awareness can help you understand that their behaviour is more to do with them than you.
2. Lose your expectations
This doesn't mean lowering your standards, but you will be disappointed if you expect people to behave in the way you think they should. Consider your expectations of others when something upsets you - is this a fair expectation to have?
3. To other people, you're a small piece in a much bigger jigsaw
This means you might never get to see the picture on the jigsaw, but you can be sure it's not centred around you. It's easy for us to lose perspective at times, keep this analogy in your back pocket the next time you find yourself worrying about an interaction.
4. Value yourself
Rather than focusing on what other people think of you, spend your energy on taking care of you with self-compassion and speaking up for your thoughts and wants.
Some of this self-work can be tough to do alone. This is where coaching can offer support. Working with a coach to help you value yourself more and reframe your thinking can be really supportive. Use our advanced search tool to find a coach today.
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