Do you take things personally? If you’re anything like me, you do. It’s been a personal issue for me for as long as I can remember. But as I practice removing this nasty habit from my life, I’m seeing things shift for the better.
When we take things personally, we rob ourselves of an authentic, peaceful life. Instead we take on needless suffering and become bitter. If you find yourself in this suffering place, consider one or more of these tips to help you stop taking things so personally:
1) Understand The Second Agreement
There is a tiny little book floating out there in the world by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements. The second agreement, Don’t Take Things Personally, is a quick, eye-opening read.
This agreement reminds us that what people say to us or think about us in never, ever about us. It’s about them. It’s their stuff coming up and out with anger, resentment, and harsh words. When we can understand this, the words and actions of others can’t hurt us.
I read this chapter regularly. And when someone attacks me, it’s the first thing I think of. It’s taken some time, but I finally understand. As a result, I suffer a lot less.
2) Ask Questions
Communication is the primary reason for conflict. If we don’t understand where someone is coming from or we’re not clear ourselves, it can cause an issue.
Ask questions. If you are unclear about what someone is saying, ask for clarification.
What is it that you’re referring to? I’m afraid I’m unclear on what you’re talking about and I want to fully understand so I can give you the answer you’re looking for.
By asking questions and seeking clarity, you can disarm an angry or irate person you believe is attacking you. Their disposition will change and your desire to take their actions personally will dissolve.
3) Remember That We’re All On a Journey
This one took years to sink in. When I see or interact with someone that lashes out at me, I have to remember that they’re on a journey that includes death, loss, uncertainty, and pain.
I don’t know their story. I don’t know their level of pain at that moment. Thanks to the Second Agreement, I know that their words and actions at that moment have nothing to do with me. When I can keep that truth in my heart and head, I alleviate a huge amount of suffering on my part.
Turn things around for you and avoid needless suffering by incorporating one or more of these tips. Share them, too. We could all use this reminder.
Joleene Moody is a PositivityGuides writer and Robbins-Madanes interventionist, specializing in offering information that helps readers shift their mindset quickly in order to improve their lives.