Before deciding to write this post I googled it just for fun. The things that are out there made me laugh. Not because they’re funny or terrible or anything like that. It was just that all of the articles that I came across were clearly written to reflect what the author *thought* you should do. Most of them really aren’t practical (i.e. don’t worry about what other people think… mmmk yeah I’ll just go ahead and stop doing that no probs LOL). Anyway, this topic is something that honestly changed my life. I’ve posted a bit about it on my Instagram stories before, and so many people have responded that they struggle with it! So, I decided that I would share a little bit how I learned to do it 🙂
Honestly, I have to give credit to someone I used to work for. I was so fortunate to work for him because he really helped me get through the post-TBI side effects I was dealing with for over a year, but in the same breath he taught me how to not take everything so personally because (especially at the time) it was what was best for my emotional AND mental health (one of the main side effects of a TBI is emotional volatility… aka being upset/angry/crying and not always understanding why or knowing that you shouldn’t be upset/angry/crying but you aren’t able to control how you feel).
I know that anything like this is easier said than done, but I hope that something, even just one thing, that I say here will help you. Learning this lesson really did change my life so if I can share any of that then I want to!
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is the number one thing that helped me. I remember the first time it was said to me I was like “wait what?” Then after I really thought about it I understood. Any time someone does something that upsets you, put yourself in the same situation. If you did something similar would it be out of malice? Most of the time I found the answer to this to be “No.” It really shocked me. I did this exercise every time something someone else did or said something that upset me. If there was nothing else I learned, this lesson could have been enough.
- Remember that everyone is selfish, sometimes. I know this can be a hard one to absorb if you are, at your core, a giver. However, it really is true. We ALL need to do what is best for ourselves sometimes in order to survive. It’s human instinct to act in a way to protect ourselves. It doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us human. I listed this one second because I needed you to read the other point first in order to fully receive this one. It doesn’t mean that when someone does something that offends or hurts you was right, but it does make your power to forgive invaluable.
- Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. Ok, this one is definitely easier said than done, BUT if you can try to do it whenever someone says or does something that upsets you you’ll be doing yourself a HUGE service. Sometimes what someone says or does isn’t about you at all. It could be a reflection or projection of something going on in their own life or in another situation. OR it could be that the way you initially perceived it isn’t the way they meant it. This is so common now with text messaging because non-verbal/written communication will never be the same as verbal because the receiver gets to perceive the information with their own perception versus how the deliverer may have intended. No matter the way you receive the information, if it upsets you then always take time to reflect before making an assumption/jumping to a conclusion.
I know that wasn’t a long list, but it wasn’t meant to be. Learning to take things less personally is complicated enough in itself without a long ass list of things you need to do to get there. Too summarize:
- Always take a second to step back and reassess someone’s actions if you feel hurt
- Ask yourself how you would possibly act in the same situation, but recognize that even if you might have done differently it doesn’t mean they’re trying to hurt you
- Consider if you really, truly think this person would try to hurt you intentionally
- If after asking those three questions the answer is not only yes, but yes all the time, then you need to reevaluate whether or not that person should be in your life
One of the funniest yet most accurate quotes I read recently said “I love when toxic people cut you off. It’s like the trash taking itself out.” I’m not saying that ANY human is trash, but sometimes people just don’t mesh well and in turn will have a toxic relationship. Being aware of who fits your puzzle piece, who doesn’t, and sorting out the matches will result in a much happier, healthier a life.