Age and maturity are not necessarily synonymous with each other. I know that from my own responses to events in my life and more importantly, to the words and opinions that I receive. It’s easy to take the words and opinions of people at face value and get hurt or troubled by them. I know that I have reacted with anger, defensiveness and sometimes with a lot of pain from internalizing what people have said to me in the not so distant past.
However, I’m beginning to finally grow up (better late than never!). One of the important lessons I’m beginning to take on board is not to take anything personally. So when someone expresses an opinion about me, or shoots down an idea of mine, says something rude to me or has a view that’s totally opposed to mine, I’m learning to stop taking it personally. I think this ties in well with the my constant theme of self-acceptance and learning to truly listen to my heart.
I realize that everyone has a different perspective of the same situation. If we remember that people are coming to a relationship or a conversation from their own experiences which might have nothing to do with us, we can keep our sanity.
Don’t Take Anything Personally!
For me some of the great outcomes of not taking things personally are:
It’s easier to forgive people and move on – We realize people’s behaviour towards us often comes from their own insecurities and not necessarily directed at us – we just happened to be in the way, so to speak.
It’s easier to say ‘no’ to someone – Often people ask us for something which we have neither the time, the resources or the inclination to give. I’ve noticed that when you say ‘no’ to certain people, they find a way of trying to make you feel guilty about your response. When you don’t take things personally, you realize that what they make of your response and how they choose to see you is entirely up to them.
It’s easier to accept people as they are – You stop taking offence every time some seems to ignore you, or seems to be curt to you, or says ‘no’ to you, or just seems to be cross at you. You realize that everyone has their own journey to make and you give people more space to be themselves.
It’s easier to be at peace – I don’t have to keep fretting about everything people say. I don’t have to jump into Facebook discussions on politics or defend my views on things. I have my beliefs, I make my choices and what anyone thinks of them is really not my concern.
The story goes that when motion pictures first started, a group of cowboys rode into Montana to watch their first movie. Then came a scene in which a group of Indians were shown kidnapping a young pioneer woman and taking her back to their camp. A cowboy in the audience was so overcome that he stood up and started firing at the screen. The film stopped rolling, and when the lights came on, all the audience and that cowboy could see was a blank screen with bullet holes in it. When you take things personally, you might be shooting at a blank screen thinking you’re rescuing someone!