Are you sensitive, prone to feeling resentment, rejection, disapproval, or disappointment? Then you’re taking things personally, and you know how much it hurts.
It’s one of the human experiences that cuts deep, and we often have trouble finding our way out.
I used to feel personally offended if someone was late or he didn’t call or the feedback I got was less than stellar. At times, it seemed like everywhere I turned, someone was trying hurt my feelings. And, although I didn’t know it, I was a willing participant.
There is so much freedom in realizing that you don’t have to take things personally.
You are lighter, free of the hooks and edges that cause you to feel put down or slighted. You feel open, generous, and compassionate – ways of being that are just not available to you if you are caught in taking things personally.
You live as the free-flow of life where nothing sticks. An event happens, someone says something to you or about you, and here you are – not attaching to any reaction, stable, fully allowing, not resisting anything.
But how to make this shift?
Welcome Your Reactions
The first key that unlocks the door to freedom from taking it personally is to bring your focus to your own reactions.
What someone else says is about them, and how you react is about you. So focus on something you can do something about, which is your own reactions.
If you feed the story, wallow in feeling bad, or run mental loops about what should and shouldn’t happen, you will stay stuck, guaranteed.
These reactions play out over and over, while you are asleep on automatic rather than being awake to what is happening within you.
If, instead, you step back and take the perspective of awareness, you notice something very simple: thoughts in your mind and feelings in your body. You might call it disappointment or rejection, but what is absolutely true in your direct experience is that some thoughts and feelings have appeared.
And these may be very familiar to you.
Why You Take Things Personally
For most of us, these painful feelings date back to childhood. When we are young, events happen that bring about emotional reactions in us. If you didn’t have the means to experience the feelings and let them go, they leave an impression in your body and mind, creating a sensitivity to reacting the same way again and again.
Decades later, here you are, experiencing rejection, disappointment, and shame – taking it personally. Then the spinoff stories start: I’m not deserving, I’m inadequate. These experiences congeal into an identity that keeps you frozen and limited.
You have developed a filter through which you view the world.
Question Who You Are
But what exactly is this identity? It seems so real, but when you shine the spotlight of your attention on your direct experience, all you notice are thoughts and feelings. That is all.
There is no “you,” no identity of one who has been rejected or disappointed. Only thoughts and feelings floating through awareness.
And if you don’t attach your attention to them, if you don’t engage and make them important and tell stories about them, they disappear, creating no disturbance whatsoever.
You no longer take them personally because there is no personal thing called you.
You realize you don’t have to make a big deal over something that isn’t real anyway.
Here is the possibility: to stay as the sky and let the dark clouds of difficult thoughts and feelings move through. They are nothing more than insubstantial wisps of energy that appear and disappear.
Persistence and Kindness
It takes time to erode these attachments that feel so real, so be very kind to yourself.
- When you notice that you are taking something personally, step off the habit wheel.
- Pause and take a breath. You’re halfway there already.
- Know that these thoughts and feelings are not important and don’t define you.
- Stay as the sky, clear, open, and undisturbed.
When you discover that it’s not personal, you walk through the doorway to the deepest peace beyond imagination.
Have you discovered that it’s not personal? Still stuck? I’d love to hear…