How often do your feelings get hurt by something someone says or does (even someone you don’t know)?
In order to live in joy, we must stop taking things personally. It is easy to observe when we do it in our close relationships, but did you know that there are other times the issue shows up? The more subtle experiences are harder to identify, but they, too, rob us of the things we want: love, peace of mind, personal power.
Some examples. If you get upset at the guy/gal who pulls in front of you in traffic, you’ve taken it personally. If you feel hurt when your cashier or waiter is gruff or rude, you’ve taken it personally. When you become incensed by the bad things happening in the world today… Yup. Personally. We even take what we say to ourselves personally as well! Feeling bad about yourself or your life? You have let your negative self-talk hurt you.
The truest identifiers of having “gone south” are things like:
- desire for revenge or punishment.
In other words, ill will. Notice how often you feel ill will towards the offending party!
To be clear, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel sad or disappointed if something doesn’t go well. It is the degree of the hurt and the resultant ill will you must look out for.
It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action; this is a case of response versus reaction.
- When we take things personally, we are in a reaction, we are attached to a particular result or desired outcome (more like demanded outcome, really), and we are more focused on our personal experience than on what is best for the situation.
- When we stay balanced, heart-centered, and detached – when we don’t take it personally – we can respond powerfully, appropriately, and effectively. We can do what is right for the situation, instead of “being right” about how bad it is.
Two things to consider: our feelings only get hurt when we have feelings to hurt, and more often than not, there is a pay-off to the ill-will.
The stronger our sense of Self, the less we will get triggered, so the antidote to taking things personally is to notice when you do it and then work on strengthening the aspect of Self that the situation is pointing out.
There will probably be a part of you that resists this process. Until we develop a strong sense of Self, we tend to get a charge (pay-off) from the feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, and ill will that come with taking things personally. There is a part of human nature that not only likes suffering, it becomes addicted to it, and it will hang on instead of letting go. We must engage our Higher Self to overcome this natural tendency.
It is not easy to stop taking things personally, but the serenity, power, and freedom that come from doing so make it well worth the effort.
Related articles and a book
The Bodies – http://theawarenessstudio.com/2015/05/
Miracle Grow – http://theawarenessstudio.com/2015/03/
Taming the Beast – http://theawarenessstudio.com/2014/12/
A Path to Non-Violence – http://theawarenessstudio.com/2014/08/a-path-to-non-violence/
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz