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How Not to Take Things Personally

Foram Mehta
Do you take things personally? Do you think that fingers are pointing at you all the time? If yes, then always remember that, there are three versions of every story; first is yours, second is someone else's and third is the reality. The best way to stop taking things personally would be by living in the reality.
We are the nucleus of our own lives. Taking things personally starts with the word 'I'. It's a mental state wherein a person is so 'self absorbed' or 'self-centered' that he begins to take every antic and remark as offensive.
The end result of this is that the person who takes things personally will end up hurting himself, feeling guilty and will feel like an outcast.
If any of these things have happened to you, then you definitely take things personally and end up being upset or feeling incapable. But why should you feel upset or guilty? After all it is someone else's opinion. There are ways you can overcome this, let's see how...

It's Just an Opinion

Sometimes we take things personally assuming that an act or a statement was meant to target our ego or self respect. So, think twice as this could not be the reality. A person could have innocently said about something that he/she does not like.
It does not mean that they are telling you something about yourself. It's merely an opinion, a generic opinion! And when you realize that you actually felt bad about something that was not said to you, then you know somewhere in your head you were guilty about something. Ask yourself this and get over it.

Know Yourself

Knowing yourself is as important as eating food. By knowing yourself I mean that you should be aware of the good and the bad in yourself. And moreover, you should accept yourself the way you are. If you are in a state of constant self denial or criticism, you will be more prone to taking things personally.

Reason out and Analyze

When someone has said or done something to you, that you feel has offended you in any way, then the first thing you do is, reason out 'why' that person said or did that with you.
That person could have probably given you a wise advise that you took otherwise or another reason could be that the other person has some wrong perceptions about you. Once you get an answer to your 'why', you will no longer take it personally.

Maybe You Went Wrong Somewhere...

"Nothing is completely wrong. Even a broken watch is right twice a day." ~ Paulo Coelho
Someone could actually be pointing a finger at you, directly or indirectly. And at such times, you would feel bad, if someone tells you or reminds you that you are wrong. What you can do here is, ask yourself if what the other person is saying to you is right or wrong.
If the answer comes that the other person was right, then there is no better bliss than 'realization'. Accept your mistakes and try improving on it. However, if the answer is that the person is wrong about you, than talk it out. Talk to that person about how you felt, know what his views are, clarify the misunderstandings.

Nobody is Perfect

Do you know anyone who is perfect? If your answer is yes, then my answer to you is that you don't know that person too well. This is in no offense to the person you think is perfect, but this is to tell you that 'perfection' - per se, does not exist.
Everyone has flawed, sinned, and erred at some point in their lives. This is because no one learns without making mistakes and that is the essence of the learning curve. So, take it easy and keep going, there are so many important and better things to do in life.
"Unless I accept my faults I will most certainly doubt my virtues." ~ Hugh Prather

Respect Others Space and Privacy

A common instance when a person takes things personally is when a person is said 'NO' to. But a 'NO' is not always a rejection. When a person says 'No' to you for anything, there could be many reasons for doing so.
If you ask a friend to accompany you somewhere and he says no to you, that does not mean that he does not want to join you. It could just mean that he genuinely has no time or is in no state to come. So, respect others privacy and space and stop taking it personally.

Know What to Expect from Whom

There are times when you ask someone for something and the person refuses to grant it point blank; that's when you need to know that there is nothing you can do here. A few people are like that; inconsiderate and ruthless. Here you need to take care and know what you are expecting from whom.

Remove "I"

I, Me, Myself.. stop thinking that everything is about you. You are important, very important, BUT there are others too. Get over the ego problem and think about what others feel, mean and say. Everything said and done is not always about you. Stay unbiased! It is a state of mind where a person knows the difference between the right and wrong.
It's again about knowing your true-self and accepting it without any hesitance and being able to stand for it. When, one is in a biased state of mind, he/she will not seek the right solution to a problem because 'he does not see things as it is' but instead 'sees it the way he wants to see it'.

You Were Not Born to Please Everyone

It is so difficult fighting with those hundred things running in your own head and being able to perform any one of them. Imagine if you start bothering about hundreds of things, that hundred different people think about. You will go insane!
So stop bothering about what others think, tell and expect from you and they will stop bothering you. Seriously it works (self-tested)! Do what you like and invest your time in productive things. No one knows what's better for you, than yourself.

Get Over Your Past

When a person begins to take things personally, it indicates that he doubts himself. It could be because of the inhibitions from his/her previous experiences. The only way to get rid of this is by accepting the past and letting it go.
You know I used to do it too. I used to take things personally, get offended and hurt myself with the smallest things. Fortunately, with time I learned that no one I know of is perfect and that I wasn't all that bad.
You just need to experience it once to know how strong it feels when your emotions are under your control. And once you have felt it, you will keep driving yourself to this blissful state again and again. You will, like me, manage to reach a state wherein you can take a compliment and a criticism with equal modesty.