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Personal Development Self-Love

How to Stop Taking Things So Personally

April 10, 2020

Do you have a hard time receiving constructive criticism or hearing others' opinions of you? Do you get offended by others or take things personally even when they aren't meant to be. Here are 2 tips to help you stop taking things so personally.

Some People Are Downright Mean and It Hurts Our Feelings

Taking advice, criticism, or just downright rudeness from others is challenging.

For most of my life I would get defensive and offended when someone tried to correct me or tell me I was doing something wrong.

I have always been the kind of person that thrived off of others opinions of me.

If someone gave me a compliment, it would make my day.

If someone criticized me, rejected me, or found fault with me, I’d feel awful and would let it ruin my month.

Did you see the discrepancy there?

A compliment lasts for a much shorter amount of time than a criticism.

They say that when we give someone “constructive criticism” we should couch it in at least 5 good things. Supposedly that will ease the blow and help them to grow…

But most people don’t do that, and for others, the negativity sticks.

I Cared So Much About What Others Thought of Me That I Didn’t Care What I Thought

For me, I found it hard to remember any of the “nice” things said, and would have the mean thing on repeat in my mind for days if not months.

What other people thought about me mattered so much that I didn’t seem to care what I thought of myself.

My worth/worthiness was wrapped up in everyone’s opinion but my own.

That is a hard way to live.

No matter what you do or say it never seems good enough.

People will always judge and expect things of us. And often, they aren’t even thinking of us at all even though we think they are.

Do You Take Things Personally Even When They Aren’t Meant That Way?

Many of us fall apart at the smallest thing, and often our interpretation of the event or criticism isn’t even merited. I can be really good at ruminating and jumping to conclusions (that are usually wrong).

For example, when my husband comes home, he can get a little annoyed when the home isn’t in order. With six kids, no matter how hard I try, it can be difficult to keep the house clean and everything put away. Rather than getting mad, he’d come home and start vacuuming. He wouldn’t say a word, he’d just get to work.

My interpretation of that?

“Man, he must think I’m the WORST home-maker in the world. The poor guy works all day and then comes home to messes. I’m awful.”

When I’d see a picture of friends getting together on social media (without me) it would throw me into a tailspin of negative thoughts.

“How dare they get together without me!” “Why am I never invited to these things?” “They must not like me.”

I could go on and on about how so many things that someone did or didn’t do used to make me feel bad.

I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this.

No one likes to feel like other people don’t like them or like they don’t belong. People hate feeling rejection. It’s rare to find someone that loves being told they are wrong or should do something better.

But… it’s not impossible to change this mindset.

In fact, I have done it!

I now thrive off of feedback and learning how to become better. Let me share how…

Here are 2 ways that you can stop taking things so personally:

1: Say, “It’s not me, it’s them.”

Most of the time when people say something about you it has nothing to do with you. It is all about them.

When coworkers are talking and they look at you and laugh, you might assume they are talking about you. You might take it personal and feel bad. But what if they were just saying something funny and completely unrelated when you walked by?

If family members are putting you down or mistreating you, it’s usually based off of their own insecurity, not yours.

I have learned that when people bully you, put you down, or try to hurt you, it is a call for love.

Only hurt people hurt people.

So, if someone is intentionally trying to hurt you, sabotage you, or make you feel bad, recognize that it is their problem, not yours.

Maybe someone ignored your phone call or texts, didn’t call you on your birthday, or had a party without you….

Instead of jumping to the worst conclusion (that they hate you), try to remember that people are busy and often forget things (or you) and its not because of you. Maybe they didn’t get your call, or your kids erased the text (happens to me a lot). They might have been really sick and ignored social media for a week. Perhaps they were invited to a party and couldn’t invite other people, etc. etc. The point is to try and give them (and yourself) the benefit of the doubt.

What Entitled or Controlling Behavior Really Means

Some people are so caught up in feeling entitled or acting like you should take “their way or the highway” that they manipulate people pleasers and those that don’t stand up for themselves. Again, these people are calling out for love.

Their self-worth is wrapped up in the need to have everyone else prove that they are the one in control. This shows that they feel bad about who they are on the inside and need to make others do things their way or else.

When people feel a need to control others or their environment, they are usually operating under the belief system that life has to be “perfect” or else they are not “perfect”… and that would mean they are not “good enough.”

Again, it’s not about you, its them. OR IS IT??

This brings me to the second piece of advice to stop taking things so personal…

2: Ask, “Is it ME?? If so, what can I do about it?”

This second piece can be a little harder to swallow, but also one of the most refreshing practices one can undertake.

Start taking responsibility for the way you are feeling and reacting to life.

The way you feel is NO ONE’S FAULT BUT YOUR OWN.

To put it another way, no one can make you feel anything without your permission! You are in charge of how you feel at all times. 

We attract people into our lives that help us see how we feel about ourselves.

What is This Person Reflecting?

Think of other people as mirrors to your soul.

If someone is making you crazy, or disgusts you, ask yourself, “What is it inside me that this person is triggering?”

Maybe they were brought into your life (no matter how short the encounter) to teach you a message at the soul level.

When we are humble enough to recognize that we are works in progress and don’t need to be or be seen as “perfect” we can change. Rather than taking things personally or feeling upset, we can grow.

I learned that when people give me advice, instead of getting offended, I can use it to get better.

Most of the time when people are sharing a way I can improve, they are doing it out of love and genuine concern for me. Unlike my preconceived belief that they couldn’t stand me, were downright rude, or were rejecting me.

I have learned that while other people have opinions, I can still have mine and feel good about myself.

Do You Want to Feel Good About Yourself Regardless of Other’s Opinions?

Changing the way I felt about myself changed my entire life. Now I love helping others do the same.

Learning to feel good about yourself takes some effort and some time. It takes guts to look at your flaws and turn them into strengths. You might be required to face your biggest fears and to dig deep into your subconscious programming in order to uproot hidden limiting beliefs.

If that is something you are interested in, and you’d like to take your self-love and acceptance to the next level, please join our new 5 day-challenge The Journey Within. Also, join our Facebook group, Uplevel With the Clarks where we help you overcome your self-doubt and give you a safe place to start to shine your light without judgment!

Do you take things personally or get offended when others say anything "bad" about you- or even when they don't? Do you ruminate and jump to conclusions? Here's a few tips on how to stop taking things personally.