This is a guest post by Alden Tan.
It is amazing how my mood can change in an instant.
It is usually triggered by something someone says about me, something which I do not agree with.
Well, who likes to be insulted right? Who likes to have their opinions shot down? Who likes their lifestyle to be criticized?
For many years, this has been one of my biggest issues.
When someone says something I don’t like, I get offended. It’s even worse when that someone is my friend, because I don’t expect them to ever hurt me.
The bigger problem is that this annoyance becomes anger, because I always bring it home. Whatever was said gets stuck in my head and it goes on and on like an irritating commercial.
I dwell on it.
I think of the exact sentence that upset me, “Alden, your hair sucks,” and I roll it over in my head incessantly.
I try to think of what I did to deserve it and I usually end up believing, “I was just minding my own business!”
Because I did not retort, I think of what I should’ve said, “I wished I’d told her off and put her in her place!”
Does this happen to you?
I Take Every Thing Personally
I did anyway.
I found that every time someone said something I disagreed with, I interpreted it as a personal attack towards me and everything I believed in. It didn’t matter if it came from a friend or not. As long as it was said to me, I felt the damage was done.
But I found that it was only “damage” because I allowed it to be so.
I’m now 27-years old and I decided that I no longer want to be unhappy or angry because of some mere words from others.
It took quite a bit of reflection, but I came to realize that this issue was the main reason I get upset in life.
Taking things personally, especially the little things, was killing my happiness.
Therefore, I decided I needed to put a stop to it.
4 Ways Not to Take Things So Personally
Here are some tips on how to not take things personally anymore:
#1: Did It Come From a Friend?
Did the comment which hurt you come from a friend? Someone you have known for a long time or at least moderately well?
If so, then it was probably not a personal attack towards you.
I used to think any friend who would dare make such a remark was not my friend at all.
But that was very extreme of me.
Friends are your friends. They’re not your enemies and neither are they intentionally trying to hurt you.
It’s because you two know each other so well that you’re all comfortable enough to make such comments, never thinking that it’s offensive or disrespectful.
With that, if the underlying intention is harmless, then take it easy and don’t allow yourself to be so easily offended.
#2: Realize It Is Rarely Ever Personal
To say or think that everyone out there wants to bring you down on a personal level is next to ridiculous.
It’s just a comment, a passing one at that. Choosing to take it personally only serves to create negative thoughts in your head.
Once you know that it’s not personal, stop it there and move on. Don’t think about it anymore, just let the comment slide.
In other words, assume positive intent (this is a very powerful attitude to adopt) and move on.
#3: Put Yourself in Their Shoes
If you do find yourself hanging on to the comment, then try to brainstorm some different possibilities of why the comment was even made.
You’d be surprised. Sometimes seemingly harsh comments are made with good intentions or due to responsibilities, like work.
A superior in the office may have to be what you consider harsh to motivate you. Or a friend may be giving you some “tough love” to help you.
As with the above, this means that the underlying intention is actually harmless. It’s not a personal attack towards you, they’re just trying their best to suit everyone’s needs.
#4: Brush It Off and Move On
Do you realize taking it personally is essentially dwelling in the past? It is also self-defeating.
You may have taken it personally at first, but the comment has passed, and there’s nothing you can do about it now.
There’s no point in dwelling on it any longer or allowing it to run over and over in your head; to re-live the past when you should be focusing on the present is madness.
It only serves to upset you and rob you of your happiness.
Mere Words and Sentences
Or sticks and stones, as they say.
Personal or not, do you honestly want to allow one person, and a few words to affect you to the point of ruining your day?
There are too many things to be happy about to let that happen. And it’s entirely your choice. You can choose to focus on the negative or on the good stuff.
Take charge of your life, in this way and stop taking what people say so personally.
About the Author
Alden Tan is a rock star blogger who’s also a breakdancer and a bouncer. He quit his job to follow his dream of being a writer. He writes about personal development, inspiration and passion on the real! And he pulls it all off with style by not caring about what others thinks.