“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
Have you ever been offended or hurt by what someone else has said or did to you?
I know I have. I used to take the negative things people said and did to heart, and allow their words and actions to negatively impact me:
If he loved me he would show me by (insert thing).
I can’t believe she didn’t say hi to me! That’s so rude.
Is he mad at me? Why hasn’t he texted me back yet?
The thing is, so many of us take things personally because we depend on others for validation and happiness. But, true happiness doesn’t come from other people, and validation is never sustainable when it’s not sourced from within.
When we take things personally, we give our power away to the people around us, and most of the time they don’t even realize what they’re doing and saying is impacting us negatively.
If you can relate, and often find yourself taking things personally, here’s how you can stop:
1.) Let Go of Your Expectations of Others
My parents divorced when I was two. I had no memories of my father, and met him for the first time (to my memory) when I was 16. I had this expectation of who and what he should be. I expected him to apologize for leaving. I expected him to swoop in and want to eagerly get to know me, and make up for lost time. I expected him to parent me.
And when he didn’t I was heartbroken. Disappointed. Depressed. Shocked.
Didn’t he know what I was expecting of him? Didn’t he know what his duties as a father are?
You see, all of us are authors, and everyday we write more of our own life story. The people we come into contact with, and the experiences we have allow us to continue writing.
But here’s the thing — we’re the only ones who will ever read and understand our entire novel.
Your story is unique to you, and everyone else’s story is unique to them. We will never understand what it’s like to be someone else, or live their life, so why should we hold them to OUR made-up expectations or try to overanalyze their actions?
When we learn to let go of our expectations of how we think other people should think and act, we free ourselves from being easily offended, disappointed, annoyed and/or upset. Doing this empowers us to take control of our feelings and understand that not everything is always going to go the way we want it to and not everyone is who we think they are — and that’s okay — we have to let other people live their lives the way they want to, and allow ourselves to do the same.
2.) Realize You’re The Keeper of Your Worth
As an adolescent, I was teased for being “flat-chested” and “ugly.” Each time one of my classmates said something degrading about my physical appearance, it felt like glass was being crushed inside my stomach — I couldn’t breathe and it hurt.
You see, I believed them; I was ugly. My ugly appearance became a fact in my life. A reason to hate and reject myself.
And you know what? I ended up depressed and suicidal as a teenager because of it.
It wasn’t until I realized I’m worthy JUST the way I am that my self-image began to shift. And that whole time, I was ALLOWING others to create a definition of self-worth for me. These were kids. Some of them strangers. None of them cared about me. None of them actually knew me. They just decided to judge, and I let their judgements seep into my consciousness and become “true.”
Here’s the thing: You either define and OWN your worth, or you allow others to define and own it for you. And if you let others define it for you, you’ll always be disappointed and feel like you don’t measure up to their standards. So do yourself a favor, take back the reigns of your worth and don’t ever place them in anyone else’s hands again.
3.) Let the Trolls Troll
A few years back I wrote an article about dating as a single mom and let me tell you something — people were NOT happy about it.
Although the article was created to help inspire and uplift other single mamas, it was “torn” apart by internet trolls. I mean after all, what kind of a woman DATES after she has a kid? #Badmom alert.
When I first read the comments, my heart sank. How could people be so cruel? Why are these people judging me and saying I’m a bad mom for having a date night? Have I lost my right to be a woman simply because things didn’t work out with my son’s father and I? I truly couldn’t wrap my head around the words I was reading.
But, then I realized those people weren’t judging me, they were judging themselves. And all of their negative and hateful banter lives in their heads, not mine. You see, negative-minded people (such as those that leave hateful comments) rarely have anything nice to say, and they look for opportunities to put other people down because it gives them comfort and satisfaction.
People are going to troll you, especially when you put yourself and your creations out into the world. Let them. If you take what they say to heart, you’ll never feel comfortable being yourself, and you’ll end up living a paranoid existence always worrying about what everyone else thinks about you.
Rise above their meaningless words and judgements and keep on doing your thing. You don’t need them to succeed, so don’t waste any of your precious energy feeding into their toxic commentary.
Focus on yourself and living your truth, and don’t pay attention to the trolls.
When you learn to stop taking things personally you’ll free yourself from a lot of unnecessary negative thoughts and emotions. So what are you waiting for? Let go of your self-created expectations of others. Let go of what other people say about you. Let go of all of the negativity and hate that comes from taking things personally and fly out of your self-created prison.
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.