I saw this on my Facebook news feed mere moments ago and it practically jumped off the page and smacked me right in the face (ok, maybe a little extreme but you get the idea). I am totally and completely the queen of taking everything personally and have been for most of my life, though I like to think I’ve improved some with age…like a fine wine. When I was in high school and even college, if I walked past a group of people and they started laughing, I was sure they were laughing at my limp. I sat in the back of the classroom always so I didn’t have to worry about hearing whispers behind me and thinking they were about me.
Today this issue manifests itself in kind of a different way. When people make remarks that seem insensitive or correct me, or argue something I’ve said, I take it personally because I assume they’re doing it because they think I’m stupid (the fear of being seen as stupid is something that just completely rules my life sometimes, it’s not good). Taking stuff personally just seeps into every facet of my life in one way or another. Which is why I found this excerpt from a book I’d actually already heard about from one of my many stints with online dating so completely powerful. What an amazing way to go through life that would be; to not take anything personally. Obviously this isn’t something achievable for anyone all the time, we are human after all. But what if I could change the lens with which I view certain comments or reactions through? Instead of seeing it as something directed towards me, even if it is directed at me, at something that’s merely someone’s response because of their own fears, insecurities, background or upbringing? If I realize that in fact, it has nothing to do with me or what someone might or might not think of me.
I still think we should defend certain beliefs in life. If people didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have the Civil Rights moment, the end of segregation, or be seeing the legalization of gay marriage around the globe. But I see complete value and validity in just not letting the actions of others affect you personally. In the end, doing that is only making you miserable and I can attest to it being a truly miserable way to live sometimes. It makes it very hard to be compassionate towards yourself when you’re constantly beating yourself up because someone said this to you or that, so you wish you wouldn’t have said or done that thing.
The whole need to be right and make others wrong is a topic for a whole separate blog and I’ve been experiencing it a lot with people lately, people who I don’t think even realize they’re doing it when they constantly correct or argue with what I say, even about the simplest of things. But I guess I shouldn’t take that personally :)
What a great light bulb moment. I may just have to add this to my list of reading!