How To Not Take Things Personally

How do we not take things personally? We hear this a lot.  I want to share some insights on this that have really supported me in my life in a significant way.

This can be seen as an experience that may be the simplest or most challenging thing that we do. We must first realize that nothing is personal. People can only give you what they have.
If you are an angry person, anger comes out of you and you give the world anger. If you are a joyous person, joy comes out of you and you give the world joy. If you are a loving person, love comes out of you and you give the world love.
It has nothing to do with YOU.

People just give you what they HAVE.
Oftentimes, when we speak about not taking things personally, we really focus on the negative aspect.  We say that if someone is criticizing you or if someone does something harmful towards you that you should not take that personally.

But I also want to look at what we deem as the positive dimension that shows up in the form of positive acknowledgment and compliments.
If someone says “you’re so smart,” and you take that personally, you deem in your mind it’s worthy of taking those things personally. That might make you feel a little more confident.

However, we have to also realize that if there is a shift internally where we start to have a new perspective on ourselves based on someone else’s feedback, we are also susceptible and vulnerable to the opposite.
If someone says “you’re so smart,” “you’re so wise,” “you’re so loving,” and then six months later, when you don’t do what they want you do, they may turn and say “I thought you were so nice,” I thought you were so smart,” “I thought you were so loving,” “you’re an evil person.” You may feel disoriented and distorted inside.
Really where that started was not when they began to criticize you, but when they were complimenting you, because you took that personally.
Realize that before and after an acknowledgement, criticism, or a compliment you’re the same.  You didn’t change. Someone saying that you were smart did not make you smart. Someone saying that you are beautiful did not make you beautiful. You were the same before and after.
Stay in your center. You can receive the intention and love if someone is complimenting you, but just realize inside that you are who you are and be at peace with yourself.

That is really what matters.
I also want to make sure that we are not taking this out of context. If someone is giving us feedback, it does not mean we should just throw everything out.  “Do not throw the baby out with the bath water,” as they say. Process it. Receive it. Acknowledge it. If there is something for you in the form of constructive feedback about your character and how you are showing up in the world, run it through and say, “Yeah, I can see that. Yeah, I can work on being maybe a little but more patient or peaceful.” Whatever it is.

But at the same time, stay centered in you and know where it is coming from. Move from that centered place and decide on how you’re going to respond to that from a very conscious and lucid place.

Sending my love,
Andrew McFarlane

Comments

2 Replies to "How To Not Take Things Personally"

  • comment-avatar
    VPS server
    April 26, 2016 (7:05 pm)
    Reply

    Mohr’s NYT piece uses the study as a jumping-off point to discuss the way that women are socialized to take criticism personally, and goes on to offer tips on ways to “retrain our minds to expect and accept” this slanted state of affairs. The piece itself has excellent intentions, but its central conundrum — isn’t it hard for women to not take criticism personally when when criticism toward women is, itself, so personal? — seems to go unanswered.

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    Armena
    July 20, 2016 (1:38 pm)
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