“We often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally.” – Dalai Lama
When was the last time you took something personally? How did it feel? Did you feel strong and empowered or angry and reactive?
I hate to admit this to you but up until a few years ago, this dangerous mindset trap was my modus operandi. I use to get easily offended and took everything personally. If someone gave me constructive feedback, I only saw it as negative criticism.
On a personal level, I jumped to conclusions and made up stories in my mind. Say, for example, if I saw pictures of my kids on social media all out together, I’d tell myself they were mad at me and intentionally didn’t include me.
Every single time I reacted defensively, I only hurt myself. When you take things personally, you question yourself and devalued your self-worth.
If you’re brave enough to admit that you occasionally or more than occasionally take things personally, what is it costing you?
In today’s blog post, I’m going to expose the dangers of taking things personally and share 3 things with you that I learned to escape this defeating mindset trap.
The Dangers of Taking Things Personally
1. Thief of Self-Esteem and Confidence
Taking things personally is a thief of your self-esteem. People who are easily offended elevate the opinions of others and question their own beliefs; this lowers their self-worth because they see themselves as inadequate.
Since they worry about what other people think, they are less likely to move forward in confidence to get what they really want in life; instead, they stay offended.
2. Fosters Self-Absorption
When you habitually take things personally, you think everything is about you. In case you haven’t discovered it yet; it’s not.
People who are so self-focused lack sound judgment and emotional control. At work, they don’t make great team players because they can’t see things objectively.
In their personal life, they are so dependent on others for their happiness and security that they don’t grow into the self-assured, independent person they could be.
Honestly, I cringe when I look back at my life and see how often I took things personally and the negative effects it had not only on me but on my relationships as well. I’m grateful to be aware of this mindset trap and that’s why I wanted to share it with you so that you don’t have an excuse.
How to Stop Taking Things Personally
1. Drop the Judging Mindset
Once you realize you’ve been triggered and you are reacting to whatever happened at an emotional level, it’s time to stop for just a moment.
Think of a Category 4 hurricane that is heading to the mainland; you need to try to slow everything down so you aren’t that hurricane about to hit land. Don’t create a dangerous situation where the devastating effects are on you.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to ignore what has happened, instead, you want to process it correctly. Recognize and feel the emotional and physical effects the trigger is having on your body and mind.
After you’ve done so, it’s time to exercise sound judgment rather than having a judgmental mindset.
Once you’ve exercised good judgment, brush the offense or the perceived offensive off. Take a deep breath and don’t allow the feelings of hurt or injustice to take over.
2. Interpret Correctly
When you find yourself emotionally triggered, get clarity on your interpretation of the situation. Ask yourself the important question, “what story am I telling myself?” Chances are you might be telling yourself a fabricated or exaggerated story.
Once you check the validity of your story, look for any truth. Is there a semblance of truth in what was said to you? If so, hold on to the truth and see this as an opportunity to grow. If you can honestly say there was no truth in what was said, brush it off and let it go so it doesn’t get its tentacles embedded in your mind and emotions.
3. Be Bigger than the Insult
I hear people say this all the time, “How can I not take this personally?” The answer to that question is found in you wanting more for yourself than an insult. This is a great opportunity for growth; mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. In other words, how can you become a better person, one that is bigger than the insult?
As humbling as it is for me to share my “junk” with you, I do it for a reason. My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes so that you can live a life of greater strength and freedom.
“Calmness is a human superpower. The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your mind clear and your heart at peace.” – Marc and Angel Chernoff
Make it a CLUTCH day,
Always remember – Nothing is Impossible