How to Not Take Things So Personally: 6 Helpful Habits

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

A very common problem that can drag your self-esteem down or build up so much anger that steam may start to come out of your ears is to take things too personally.

And so you may try to grow some thicker skin and let criticism, negativity or verbal attacks just wash off of you.

But that’s often easier said than done.

So in this week’s article I’d like to share 6 habits that really work for me – at least in most cases – and helps me to reduce the stress, anger and hurt in my life.

I hope they’ll be useful for you too.

1. Breathe.

Just focus on your breathing for a minute or two (or for a few breaths if that’s all the time you got).

Focus only on the air going in and out of your nose. Nothing else.

This simple exercise helps you to calm your mind and body down a bit.

It helps you to create a bit of space between you and what has just happened and by doing so you’re less likely to have a knee-jerk reaction and to, for example, lash out verbally at the other person.

Going about things this way makes it easier to respond to the situation in the way you may deep down want to.

2. Get clarification.

Don’t jump to conclusions based on what you may have just misunderstood and let that drag you down into anger or to feeling sorry for yourself.

Instead, ask questions if possible to help clarify a bit about what the other person meant.

And, if you can, explain how what he said makes you feel. We have different perspectives and ways of communicating and he might not, for instance, realize that it came across as a bit harsh or rude.

3. Realize that everything isn’t about you.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that criticism or verbal attacks you receive are about you or something you did.

But it may simply be about the other person having a bad day, week or year. Or about how they are miserable at their job or in their marriage at this time.

And so they release some pent up emotions and tensions at you who is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Remind yourself of this when you wind up in a situation where you are likely to take things personally.

4. Talk it out.

When something gets under your skin and you start to take it personally then you can get stuck in a negative spiral of sinking self-esteem that just gets stronger and stronger.

Break out of that or prevent it by letting what happened out into the light. Talk it over with someone close to you and let your friend share her perspective on what happened.

Maybe she knows something about how the person that verbally attacked you is going through a tough time.

Or she could just listen and through that help you to sort things out for yourself and ground you in a more level-headed perspective on what happened.

5. Ask yourself: is there actually something here that could help me?

This one can be a tough one to ask yourself. And it may not always lead to something.

But by asking it you can sometimes empower yourself.

You can find one or more steps to take to improve whatever the criticism was about. You can start moving forward again and regain confidence in yourself and in what you can do.

Instead of getting stuck in inaction and in replaying what happened over and over again in your head.

This one can be especially helpful if this is the fifth or tenth time you have heard the same thing from people. Then there might be something here you would like to work on (even if that might not be so fun to face).

6. Improve your self-esteem.

I’ve found that as I’ve learned to improve and keep my self-esteem steady things don’t get under my skin as often. I don’t take them so personally and I keep a healthier perspective and distance to them.

And so they tend bounce off quicker and not drag my day or week down.

One simple way to start improving your self-esteem today is to be kinder to the people in your own life.

You can:

  • Help them out practically in some way.
  • Listen when they need the help of a friend to find a better perspective.
  • Give a genuine compliment.
  • Encourage when most of their world may be discouraging.

The way you treat other people is how they will most often treat you too in the long run.

And, more importantly for your self-esteem, when you are kinder towards others then you tend to treat and think of yourself in a kinder way too.

 

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Eureka Choudhury

    Nice

  • Excellent Henri

  • Lavanya

    Best ever blogs I’ve been through….thank u so much ?

  • Anonymous

    it was thoughtful.. Thanks

  • Good advice. It’s always best to take a step back in these situations because it gives us time to analyze what is happening and respond accordingly.

  • Juliane

    Great tips and the best! We don’t have to take so personally everything that happens to us. Maybe someone is just having a bad day.

  • Helly

    Huge thanks, i so look forward to your practical helpful hints

  • The most helpful is Number 1 – Just breathe:
    If we meditate and just focus on our breathing we will stop ourselves from overthinking.
    We can not be unhappy or take things personally if we are not thinking.
    Khun Greg

  • Fiona

    Thank you came just at the right time I thank you for this amen

  • I think talking it out is excellent advice here.

    Misunderstandings can cause many problems, and ruin many relationships.
    Jason Andrew

  • Best Blog And Nice Information

  • DIYA SHAH

    BRUH ! i loved it keep writing such more things cause it do help!
    love from INDIA

  • Patricia Faithfull

    Empathy and compassion are boomerangs; you get back what you throw.

  • After reading this post, I move towards bright life. Awesome

  • William

    Very helpful. Thank you.