Wednesday Wisdom: How to not Take Things Personally

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m in a good mood today, probably because im writing this at dawn when my mood and energy levels are at their highest. It goes downhill from here. I ate suhoor, prayed fajr, and now I’m soaking my foot in warm water so that I can put the cream on the 3rd and final day. Sadly, I didn’t find much of a difference, but im hopeful that with time, my foot will heal.

Not my feet but hopefully I can stand like that again one day…

My mood right now is the complete opposite of what it was last night. I was a raging hulk. I was hurt. I said hurtful things. I yelled. I cried. After I literally and figuratively slept on it, and after speaking with a wise close friend of mine, I saw the issue from a new perspective. It opened my eyes to something I already knew but keep needing to revisit every once in a while. It’s that I take everything personally.
This is partly due to my anxiety, but it’s also human nature, I guess. We assume someone did something to hurt us. We assume people are out to get us. We assume so many things and turn our assumptions into facts and then all hope of peace is gone.

So I’m going to try to remind myself, and you, how to not take things personally:

  1. The world does not revolve around you:
    I know it’s hard to believe, but we often get so absorbed in our problems and lives that we forget that other people have their problems and lives. Even if the other person is a loved one. When my husband is cranky, I automatically assume it’s because of me when it’s usually stress from work or family problems. The thing is, my husband doesn’t like to talk about what is bothering him, so he will just sulk and isolate himself and “go into his cave” until he feels better. I on the other hand want him to open up to me and get offended when he doesn’t.
  2. Not everyone is out to get you:
    It’s easy to view other people’s behavior with ill intent. When people are whispering and snickering, to assume they are laughing at you. When someone is grumpy, to assume they’re mad at you. When someone acts in a way that harmed you, even though it was unintentional, however inconsiderate, to assume they did so to harm you when they did it because they were only thinking about what is best for them. I’m not saying this is excusable behavior. It’s important to be considerate in society, especially with loved ones, but many people are innately selfish and dont know how to be considerate. That doesn’t mean they are evil. Yes, there are evil people out there, hell-bent to harm you and bring you down to make themselves feel better, but most people act out of selfishness.
  3. The other person’s behavior is about them, not about you:
    I know I sound like a broken record, but hear me out. The whole premise of taking things personally is thinking the behavior is about you. When you are reacting to other people’s behavior instead of responding, you’re making the behavior about you. When someone acts out, you see their behavior according to your perception. You may see someone evil and angry, or you may see someone hurt and trying to mask their hurt with anger. Based on how you perceive their anger, you will either react with anger or respond with compassion.
  4. Upbringing plays a big role in people’s behavior:
    If you were raised in an authoritarian household, you were likely not allowed to express anger. This makes anger a trigger for you when you grow up. If you grew up with a parent who suffered from a mental illness such as anxiety or depression, you probably find crying or vulnerability off-putting. Our childhoods and the relationships we had with our parents dictate how we behave in our adult relationships. Not to say you are doomed if you grew up with childhood trauma. With much awareness and self-compassion, you can reparent yourself and adjust your behavior and unlearn the unhelpful ideas that trigger you. It’s not easy, and you will often regress to comfortable anger or crying when you are stressed or tired, but with practice and determination, you can break the cycle. So it often helps when someone is acting in a way that triggers you to try to imagine what it was like for them growing up and try to find out if the other person can open up to you enough to tell you. That way, if you see their inner child who is probably just hurt and wants to feel safe and in control, it can help you not take it personally.
  5. Try to see the other person’s perspective:
    Sometimes we get stuck in the way we see things and are convinced that our way is the right way. There are times, however, when trying to see the situation from the other person’s point of view, helps us accept that there are different ways to tackle a problem and the other person may have the same goal as you do but is just approaching it differently. Once you establish this common goal with them, be it financial stability or raising a strong but kind leader, you can find ways to be on the same page.

These are 5 ways to help you not take other people’s behavior personally. Now I’m going to do something I rarely do because I’m usually so eager to get my words out there, but this month I’m working on patience. Im going to schedule this post to go out at 7 pm (the highest viewed time for me on WordPress) instead of immediately publishing at 6 am. Let me know what time it is your time when you read this.

Also, I dont want to make promises, but I’m going to try to bring back Motivational Monday and Wednesday Wisdom, maybe even Throwback Thursday, and an occasional Transformation Tuesday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are difficult to write on, so I don’t know when I can squeeze in some poetry and storytime. I find that I’m most productive when I’m organized. I feel overwhelmed when things are unorganized, and order brings peace and balance into my life. After a while though, the order becomes constricting and affects my creativity and I need to venture out of my comfort zone and just go with the flow and see where the words take me. Writing beforehand and scheduling my posts rarely ever works with storytime, but I will try.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and comment. I would love to read your thoughts on this topic. Do you struggle to not take things personally? Do you think your childhood affected your adult relationships?

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8 responses to “Wednesday Wisdom: How to not Take Things Personally”

  1. When I was in my 20s I used to take things personally. My boss told me some of your bullet points that I was reading into people’s actions. Most of the time, other people’s actions had nothing to do with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you don’t take things personally anymore. Here’s to hoping that as I grow and mature, I learn to stop taking things personally 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pointers and one to practice πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very wise advice Sajjida. The fact that we do take most things personally because it’s how we think. Extracting ourselves out of the situation helps a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, thoughts create feelings which propel actions

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

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