How To Not Take Things Personally
Let’s take the example of someone snapping at you. For no good reason. You aren’t doing anything wrong or harmful, but the person snaps at you or scolds you for a relatively insignificant thing. There are two main ways we can deal with this:
1. Take it personally
2. Don’t take it personally
But do one or the other. It is a terrible place to be if you have taken something personally, but are pretending that you haven’t, or are trying to not take it personally. Either you do or you don’t. That’s it.
If you do, then LET yourself take it personally. Normally the reaction is inner contraction, anger, and either withdrawal and pain or firing back and scolding. If you fire back, we usually think this will end it. It usually creates an argument, or you might be sharp and cutting enough to make the person withdraw.
In the heat of the moment, things might be said, but it is the after-effects, the lingering pain and repetition of the event that causes most suffering. In these times it is because we are fighting how we feel, we are fighting against the pain inside, trying to out-explain it, cover it up, hide it or run from it.
It is an amazing thing to take something very personally, and to actually let yourself do that. It opens something up inside. It has a healing power.
From there, from allowing yourself to take things personally, you might find that the habit of taking things personally begins to drop away.
You see that people’s actions and moods are to do with them, not with you (at least in the example above). You see that there is less to defend, your identity becomes less solid.
At the same time you are not closed off, not avoiding, not withdrawn through fear of confrontation. You can say things, things that might surprise you, because you are open to a deeper intelligence, more open to the moment that speaks through you, if necessary. You can express yourself while not feeling as if your whole existence or identity is on the line.
Rather than focussing on whether to take things personally or not, just let yourself be whatever you are. You might not take things personally. Let yourself do that. You might be grossly offended by something, let yourself be grossly offended, and see how it transforms what was a trap or cycle of suffering, into something completely different.
The absence of conflict with yourself opens you to depth, your own depth, and a response flows if needed.
Hope that is useful, thanks for reading.