Be it criticism from my boss, someone looking me up and down in a rather disdainful fashion on the tube or the fact that my *desk husband* is monosyllabic, the real reason is rarely what I think it is. However I sometimes take these situations personally and they leave me unhappy, drained and generally at odds with the world.
Like most people I will admit that on occasion (for that you can read a lot of the time…) I think that the world revolves around me, therefore the odd dig / cold shoulder / feeling of being sent to Coventry can only be because someone is mad at me right? Ermm no.
Ego. Sometimes it has a lot to answer for. In this instance it has everything to answer for.
We are simple creatures at heart, and we all just want to be accepted, loved and nurtured for who and what we are. Sometimes a small shift in the norm means that our *someone’s having a pop at me * antennae goes onto red alert, our defenses gather and we convince ourselves that the comment was intentionally directed at us. And it becomes personal.
Monday was not a good day at work. It wasn’t bad, it was just a bit schizophrenic – one minute good, and then the next minute not so much. About half way through the afternoon I was on the receiving end of a particularly snotty comment, from someone quite insignificant, which I totally took to heart.
(Muppet. Me, not the giver of said snotty comment. Natch.)
I’ve noticed that I tend to take things to heart when I’m not looking after myself; I’m stressed, not sleeping, feeling run down, not eating properly… Basically when I’m not in tip top form and things feel a little bit glass half empty, rather than when I’m on tip top form being my usual highly annoying uber positive self.
Ergo, rule # 1 in not taking things personally is to make sure that I am looking after me.
And rule # 2 is to remember the c word. We all have a CHOICE. Every time I interact with someone, I can choose to listen, acknowledge, and then let go of what they say. Or I can choose to take it personally. After all what someone does or says is usually based on their own experiences, emotions and perceptions – it’s about what is going on inside of them, rather than having anything to do with me. Yes yes yes – that old chestnut – it’s not all about me!
So if you ever hear yourself mutter ‘How very dare they say that about ME’, then you need to stop immediately, and remind yourself that you just you used the word ME about someone else’s behaviour.
Foot note: The snotty comment – well, said individual was apparently “having a total mare of a day and taking it out on everyone…” Apologies have been issued in triplicate. Kissing and making up has been done. Normal service has been resumed etc. And I wont be taking it personally again.