How to Stop Taking Things Personally

One sure fire tip for improving your communications and relationships with other people is to “stop taking things personally”.

I saw a video article in the Daily Mail recently about a young man on a skateboard who accidentally knocked over a young 4-5 year old boy (the whole incident was caught on camera). He immediately apologised and, although clearly uncomfortable about what he ought to do next, he had the goodness to stay next to the crying boy (let’s face it, a bully would have simply run off!). The boy’s mother came rushing over to pick her little one up and the young man apologised again profusely saying that he simply hadn’t seen the little lad. To my shock, the woman punched the young man in the face and began verbally abusing him. As could be seen from the video, it was clearly an accident and, whilst the young man did probably deserve harsh words to the effect of pay more attention to others, he certainly didn’t deserve such uncontrolled wrath. This woman took the incident personally. Her child had been hurt and rather than seeing that accidents happen (and that really was the logical conclusion) and taking the actions of a responsible adult by giving the offending young man stern advice, she gave in to the emotions her Inner Imp’s were feeling. She lost control of herself and reacted in a way that was far worse than the young man’s original misdeed.

Whether it’s as serious as the example above or a little more everyday – such as losing your temper and shouting at the kids to stop bickering or feeling upset because your spouse/boss snapped at you – when things go wrong, exercising control over your feelings so that you act rather than react is really difficult but eminently doable and something we should all strive to achieve.

By making a conscious decision not to take things personally, you can begin to take back control of your emotions and actions. You will begin to see things more positively and your relationships will improve.


Decide it’s Not Personal

Even if something feels personal, make a conscious decision that it’s not. Mentally talk to your Inner Imps and make it clear to them that it is in “Team You’s” best interests to assume that other people are just having a bad day/in a bad mood/unable to see things for what they are/behaving unreasonably/disorganised/made a mistake/??

Over the next few days:

  • If someone criticises you, it’s not personal! It’s just a pick and mix idea based on their personal experiences that you can either take on board or ignore – simply think it over for any positive side.
  • If someone calls you an idiot, it’s NOT personal! They’ve lost control of their Inner Imps and are unable to behave decently.
  • If someone doesn’t do something you’ve asked them to, it’s NOT personal! They are unable to organise themselves and need your advice/help.

Whatever behaviour you see in other’s, do not take it personally and you’ll be truly surprised how much your relationships improve.

Learning how to better control your feelings and emotions is just one relationship life skill covered in the forthcoming CANDoable Life Lessons.  For notification of when the series launches and a FREE CANDoable Life Lesson (when they become available), click the link below to join up:

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What behaviour have you seen recently that pushed your Inner Imps to the limits? Drop me an email (or leave a comment below) and include a bit about how you could have avoided not taking it personally.

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