Not taking things personally

When someone “does something to us” we often take it personally.

We tend to think there is something about us that this person is responding to, or we feel hurt that we are being treated this way.

On some level we seem to think if we were different the person would not have done this to us.

Although it is very hard to avoid feeling this way it is often the case that what someone has done to us says more about them than it does about us.

If someone treats you badly and you feel the treatment is unjustified (which is usually the case when we are feeling hurt–confronting negative behavior respectfully and appropriately is something else and should not lead to hurt feelings) it is often the case that this person is treating us this way because of their issues, not ours.

Once again, it is a lot easier said than done, not to take things personally, especially if it involves someone we love.

Remember we cannot change others and we should not take their flaws personally.

How do you deal with hurtful behaviors by others?  Do you find yourself taking them personally?

2 Comments
  1. Joanna

    This is a biggie isn’t it? 🙂 On one hand we learn that in different contexts, people interact differently, and so “it takes two to tango”, which is very true and does alert us to our own accountability in any relationship…on the other hand, there are issues we each bring into a relationship that don’t have anything to do with the other person…and we lash out, or else someone else lashes out at us. I guess the hardest thing is to figure out how we contribute in a non-productive or negative way and aggravate a situation…and also which issues are/are not ours. And I think the problem is no matter how well we understand things sometimes, it still hurts. Sort of like striking a comment from court records…it was made and it did damage.
    As for a solution? Perhaps listening to ourselves and understanding how and why we react to things is the best approach. I find that if something really gets to me it’s because I’m insecure in a particular relationship/context, or some issue I’m struggling with personally was brought up by someone else, and even though it’s their issue, indirectly it is mine as well, because I’m not clear on it for myself. What are your thoughts?

    • drbettina

      Very insightful Joanna. Thank you. I like your solution. I think how we react to things is huge. You are right, as is often said, we tend to react most strongly to characteristics in others that we don’t like in ourselves and/or our own hot button issues. We can use our strong reactions to others as signals to look at our own issues, and hopefully gain insight and make progress. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

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