“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz
This quote is incredibly wise and full of truth. But let’s face it: it’s not always so easy to not take things personally.
What if your best friend finds a huge fault in something that you did? What if your colleague blames your lack of skills for an error on a team project? What if a family member continues to remind you of that thing you said to him 15 years ago that still makes him feel bad, even though you’ve sincerely apologized...more than once.
The process of getting yourself into a place of not taking things personally is just that, a process. Especially if this concept is new to you, this can take a little practice, but it can be done. With a willingness to shift your mindset, and a few life tools to support that shift, you can learn to release that impulse that causes you to personally take on the energies of those things that really belong to the other person.
Here are a few tips that I believe can help you on your way to not taking things personally.
1. Understand that people live from their own perception.
People perceive reality and interpret what’s happening in their lives through their own filters. Those filters are created from their life experience and challenges or successes that have crossed their path. Their reactions and how they choose to view what’s happening around them is something that comes from inside of them. Their reactions and how they choose to view what’s happening with you is also something that comes from inside of them.
“Because we interpret our circumstances through the filter of what we already know, it naturally limits what we understand of ourselves and others. Our perception of reality is not always the same as reality, and it is easy to confuse the two. Our perceptions and interpretations are sometimes different than those of others, and this can lead to communication breakdowns, judgement, criticism, and hurt feelings. As we learn to expand our frame of reference, our conduct becomes more accurately based on broader, more inclusive reality. This principle is about creating a larger frame of reference from which conduct can be chosen. It is about the opportunity to live a larger, more inclusive life by learning to remain in the present moment, where multiple perceptions of reality exist and inform our choices.” - Coach U, Inc. on life coaching Guiding Principle #7: People Live from their Perception
Idea for Action: When you’re in a situation where someone is pouring out their thoughts and opinions that don’t resonate with you, or that are causing you to feel bad, try this...
We all have seven chakra points in our body that begin at the tailbone, and go up to the top of our head, or crown. Set the intention to match your crown chakra energy to the other person’s crown chakra. Don’t worry so much about what this looks or feels like. What this does is allows you to meet that person where they are in a more empathetic way. No, this does not cause you to be absorbed by their energy, but rather be able to remain in a neutral space of understanding where they’re coming from; a place of intentionally wanting to see the situation their way. This makes it about them, and should remove the heavy feeling off of you.
2. People are usually in a state of focusing on themselves rather than on you.
When in a situation with a friend, family member, a colleague, or even the person next to you on the highway, more often than not, when something is said or done that causes a negative reaction in that person, it’s triggering something in them. Maybe it’s a bad memory, or a trigger of something that made them feel bad or insecure way back when. Maybe it sparks a political topic that has been getting under their skin lately. That’s fine. People have emotions and strong feelings. It’s part of who we are as human beings. But it doesn’t mean that you’re responsible for when people’s emotions and feelings get triggered. Whether it’s good emotion, or negative emotion, it’s something that’s internal for them (same goes for you, btw).
Idea for Action 1: If you’re feeling judged or criticized by someone, it’s a good idea to ask yourself why you feel that way. Maybe their reaction has triggered something in you.
Idea for Action 2: For times that you feel someone’s negative energy is coming at you, try this: Picture a black cloud surrounding that person. This black cloud is the negativity that’s actually causing the negative energy to come from that person. We all have it, and it’s always around us. It can tap into any of us if we’re not aware of it and/or willing to effectively manage it. In your mind, create a rage against this energy to push it away from you. Use any term that helps, such as, “Get out!” “Go away!” of “Leave now!” This lightens the negative energy and creates more of your space around you. This is tool is called the Cosmic Rage and was created by Barry Michels and Phil Stutz. You can learn more about here.
3. Hold on to your power.
When you’re wrapped up in caring about what others are saying, worrying about what people are thinking, and taking things too personally, you’re in a state of giving your power away. Your energy is wrapped up in caring and worrying too much about what other people think of you. If you find yourself in this position a lot, work to strengthen your confidence in who you are, what you stand for, and who you want to become.
Idea for Action: Ways to strengthen your confidence and know who you are:
Practice meditation. Get quite with your own mind. Connect with your inner guidance system, and realize the power you truly have being connected to source energy and the universal forces that are available to you.
Pay attention to what lights you up, what inspires you, and give your energy and focus to these things.
Learn to truly love yourself. Accept who you are. Accept who you are despite what the outside world says. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself a break here and there. You’re doing the best you can with what you know and what you have.
4. Focus on being in love and deeply involved in your own life.
When you’re happy, living from intention, carrying out your passion(s), and approach life with the intention of bringing as much of all the good stuff to the table that you can, you really don’t have a lot of time to be worrying about taking things so personally.
Idea for Action: Practice gratitude. Be grateful for all that you have. Be in appreciation that you are here and living this experience called life. Be in the flow of your life, and you will send that energy back out to the world around you.
Yes, there are people all around us. In this life, we have relationships to manage and work with. We do have different personalities and it’s always a possibility that we face conflict with others. It’s also possible that we can set the intention to not take what others do or say personally.
Sitting in that space zaps your energy, and robs you of your happiness. Learn to release those negative energies and go forth, continuing to live a life with more freedom and love for who you are.