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How to Stop Taking Things Personally

Many of my recent conversations have been around how people are affected by the comments of others.

In the Lightning Process, we look at recognising what’s within your power to influence.  You can change how you respond to others, but you can’t change them.  Why is it then, we take other’s comments and opinions so personally?

Other’s comments

If someone makes a rude comment about you, it’s more likely to be a reflection of their own issues, than something about you.  I’ve found people who make scathing remarks about another’s appearance, often feel insecure about themselves.  They use this tactic to deflect attention away from them.  Recognising the comments are actually about them and not you will help you to let them go.

What else could something mean?

We spend way too much time thinking about the meaning behind other’s words or actions.  Over analysing what you think people ‘really meant’ when they said this or did that.  We can end up catastrophising about how bad things are when there is usually a simple answer.

Many, many years ago, a colleague at a company I worked for always appeared to ignore me.  They would even walk straight past me in the street without as much as a nod or a smile.  I over-thought this behaviour and quickly jumped to the conclusion they were stuck up and thought I wasn’t good enough.  It took a friend pointing out, the person in question was short-sighted and often didn’t wear their glasses.  They probably hadn’t even seen me!

Turn criticism into feedback

If someone criticises something, consider it as feedback and work out if there’s any truth in it?  Be objective and think about what you can learn from the comment.  It’s far better to use it as an opportunity for growth than stewing on it and feeling upset by it.  You can then decide if you want to act on the feedback or let it go.

You’re not defined by your mistakes

We all make mistakes!  Some continue to haunt us for far too long.  We’ve all got things we’ve said or done that make us cringe and we wish we could change.  There is nothing we can do to change history, but it doesn’t have to define us going forward.

It’s time to make peace with the mistakes you’ve made and let go of any upset you are holding onto.  I’ve found it useful to write down the ‘mistakes’ I’ve made and then review them objectively telling myself: I forgive myself, I did the best I could at the time with the knowledge I had, and I love myself.  I then destroy the note (I like to burn them but shredding would work) in a mini ceremony of letting them go and moving on.

Realise you can’t please everyone

No matter how much you try, you will never be able to please everyone.  There will always be those who disagree with you or don’t like you, it’s, unfortunately, the way of the world.  The more you can get comfortable with this idea and let go of trying to please everyone, the simpler life will be for you.

See things from a different perspective

When you replay a situation over, and over again, re-living it, you are constantly accessing the emotions associated with it.  Take a situation that has been playing on your mind and imagine experiencing it from a totally different perspective as if you are observing it unfold instead of re-living it.  How would an unbiased observer understand the situation if they were watching?  What would they think was going on here?

Your self-worth depends on you

How you value yourself is down to you and not based on what others say about you or their opinion of you.  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

Spend time reminding yourself of your great qualities every day to help reinforce your value.  I use affirmations every morning to remind me of who I am and what I deserve, it’s such a great way to start the day.

“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” Don Miguel Ruiz

If you need help to stop taking things personally, contact us for a chat.