Do You Take Things Too Personally?
If the words and actions of others wound you, you are taking things too personally. Taking things personally is emotionally draining and an unnecessary, constant re-evaluation of your self-esteem. There’s a difference between being reflective and always taking slights personally; one is productive and lends itself to self-improvement, the other is the opposite. Not taking things personally gives you more control over how you respond, your emotions, and your energy level.
You have probably been given the advice “Don’t be so hard on yourself” and “Don’t let them get to you so much,” but in truth, this advice doesn’t get to the root of what you are feeling. I became aware of how I had operated in the world in the past. Recognizing my tendencies helped me keep my default thinking in check.
Here Are A Few Ways To Stop Taking Things Personally:
Being A Social Perfectionist
I would go over and over about what other people might think. But the problem with this view is thoughts show on the outside. I was so concerned about what others thought my presentations became less about the skill and more about meeting their expectations. So, the substance of my presentations was weakened.
You Use Negative Self-Talk As Motivation
Negative self-talk decreases your performance. The old line, “Don’t think of an elephant,” instantly puts the elephant in focus. It’s the same for negative self-talk, “Don’t be stupid and get on with it.” Being judgemental of yourself is making a statement – “I’m no good, get a hold of yourself,” “Don’t be so pathetic,” “You’re a loser,” only drains you of the positive boost you need. If someone criticizes or judges you, negative self-talk hijacks your thinking and begins to form an interpretation of yourself. What can go from “He criticized my work” can turn into ‘My work is never any good.”
If you want to stop taking things personally, don’t generalize a mistake in behavior to a character flaw. True freedom from taking things personally comes from removing the habit of negative self-talk altogether.
You don’t need to be hard on yourself to succeed. Making these statements about ourselves stops us from advancing. Instead of making statements such as, “I’m no good at this” and “I won’t win,” try asking a question like, “How can I succeed at this?”, “What do I need to do to improve?” or “How many lessons will it take to get to that skill level?” You wouldn’t talk to others how you speak to yourself, so consider why you are so unkind to yourself.
You’re Afraid To Be Proud Of Yourself
Taking things personally often means you value other people’s opinions too much, and your own not enough. A healthy sense of pride can enable you to define fair and unjust criticism. It is essential to reflect and consider if the other person has validity in their view and recognize that it doesn’t mean it is true just because they say it. A healthy sense of pride will enable you to feel grounded in your view of yourself.
You Don’t Know How To Be Assertive
If you are continually setting aside your wants and needs and taking care of others, this is about you telling yourself you have less importance than other people. This basically is saying you don’t matter. Many of us are taught to put others’ needs and wants before our own. But this can go to an extreme, where taking care of other people means neglecting our wants and needs. This can make you over accommodating to others, and things become more about them than they do you and your own.
Your automatic assumption is that they are right and what you have to feel isn’t important when criticized. The antidote to this is about learning to be assertive. This is about being respectful of other people but setting boundaries, asking for what you want and saying no when you have to. Know what triggers your emotions and prepare yourself for how to respond when these get pushed. When you do this, you will find it easier to value yourself.
You Get Lost In Your Own Stories
Some people will experience fear at the thought of climbing a ladder, whilst others will see excitement. It isn’t the circumstance but our thoughts that affect how we feel. Is it the ladder that causes your thought or the way you perceive it? The way you see it is not what other people tell you; it’s about what you tell yourself. A great way to resolve this is to examine your experience and what thoughts these feelings bring. Then, start to explore the responses you take as a result of these thoughts.
Now, flip this over and consider what new positive emotions would help you. What thoughts would these feelings bring, and how would these thoughts change the results that show up in your life. A great way to stop taking things personally is to pay attention to the stories you tell yourself when criticized. Practice makes patience. Do this regularly, and you will start to see shifts in the way you respond.
You Spend Too Much Time With The Wrong People
If you spend time with people who step over your boundaries and disrespect you, you will have a view of yourself that works for them but not for you. As long as you view yourself as someone who has to meet others’ approval, you will stay small. Perception is projection. Thieves think everyone else is a thief. Another’s persons thoughts and actions are about their own interpretation of the world. I once had a friend who sent me a slur of abusive texts. I knew what she was saying had no relevance to me or my own actions, but we’re all the kind of behaviors she maintained herself.
Making a significant change in the type of people you regularly spend time with will change your thinking of yourself. Ask yourself, is this person really helping me be the best version of myself. This isn’t easy but once they are gone, notice how much differently you view yourself. Your value is not based on their approval or pleasing them. It is based on you loving all your skills, characteristics, quirky little mannerisms, and habits.
Recognize The “Spotlight Effect”
Often, when we feel that we’ve been judged or criticized by someone else when we’re not. Since we’re each inside our heads, we’re overly aware of our flaws, weaknesses, and insecurities. But think about the past. Have you ever taken something personally when it wasn’t even about you? We often give more thought to our weaknesses and insecurities than they actually do. So give that some thought the next time you take something personally.
Don’t Use The PAIN To Wound Yourself Continually
It’s easier said than done, but once someone has delivered the criticism, do you take the insult like a weapon and use it to wound yourself continually? Repeating the injury again and again, even though the initial criticism was delivered a long while since. Holding on to pain does more damage to you than to the other person. So, learn to let things go.
Don’t Climb Down To Their Level
When someone disrespects or is cruel, it is important not to react to their toxicity. People who feel strong do not need to bring others down; they enjoy empowering others. Strong people stand firm in their beliefs and do not need to rally groups of others to express a destructive commentary; they constructively maintain balance. Don’t climb down and drink the toxic poison with those who need to bring others down. It may be cathartic initially, but you became part of the frame that they wanted you within. Instead, maintain your strong sense of pride, staying centered, and brush it off. Ask yourself, do you really need their love and approval?