Wanna stop taking thinks personally? Alright. Here are two strategies of how not to take things personally. Let us Imagine, We are playing a match. This match will take exactly 18 minutes. You’re all part of the same team. I would like to see fair play on the field, respect and positivity. Is that OK for everyone? Good luck!
A Match Referee
One year ago, I decided I wanted to become a football referee. Not because of the money, though I only get paid 20 euros per match. So I won’t really get rich by it, will I? No. I decided to become a referee for two other reasons. Firstly, to stay in good shape. Secondly, because I wanted to learn how not to take things personally. I can imagine you nodding. You are probably thinking, “Being a referee is the perfect environment to learn how not to take things personally.
The Trigger During Match
Isn’t it? “Because the spectators hardly ever shout encouraging or positive things. No. What do they shout? Come on, come on. “Loser! Are you blind? “Yeah, yeah, good!. As a referee, I am the scapegoat. Apparently, I’m always wrong. It’s always my fault. And I wanted to learn how not to take all this personally. Because I really struggle with this.
Road Rage! an outcome Example of Taking things Personally
For example, when I drive slowly because I’m trying to find a specific location and somebody is just driving behind me, I feel hunted. Especially when they start honking and flashing their headlights. I take it personally. I know I shouldn’t, but it just happens. Can you imagine what I wanna explain?
Professional Case of Taking things Personally
Or when somebody cancels an appointment last minute, I get the feeling that I’m not important enough. Again, I take it personally. Even professionally. I’m a public speaker. This is what I do. I give keynote speeches, and I really like it as long as I can draw my audience into my story. Because the very moment I see somebody is not paying attention. For example, when somebody is looking at his smartphone. It just happens. I take it personally.
Now, I’m very conscious that this can happen. And more importantly, I have two strategies to deal with it. So tonight, I would like to share this strategy with you. Because, I guess, I’m not the only person in this World who sometimes takes things personally,
It Might Have Happened
Frist Imagine you invite a friend to go to the movies, and she replies, “Oh, sorry, I have to work. “But you see a picture on social media of her having dinner with some friends that very night! Or imagine you really have worked very hard on a project. You’re really proud of the end result, but the only thing you get is criticism. Understand these two. Then you come home, and you would like to wind down and share this terrible experience. But while you’re telling your story, the other one walks away to switch on the TV. Now, who would take one of these situations personally? Lots of Us.
Why do we take things personally?
Why do we take things personally? Somebody says or does something and bam! We feel hurt, neglected, offended, betrayed by the other one. That’s what we believe. Though it’s the other person’s fault. He’s responsible for what we feel. He’s the one to blame. Now, Which part of us is doing this? It’s our ego.
The Ego Factor in taking Things Personally
Our ego thinks that others should take us into consideration. Our ego doesn’t want to be criticized, but to be acknowledged. “I’m right! “Is this what you want? Do you want to be right? That’s exhausting. When my ego takes over, I’m fighting all day. I’m in a constant struggle with the rest of the world. And it drains my energy. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to not take things personally? Because then no one has power over you.
Do not Let your ego control you. You’re free. You experience much more harmony and connection between you and other people. Of course! Because your energy can go towards nice things instead of endlessly battling against the things like your ego that drive you crazy. So the question is do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I know what some of you are thinking, “I will make sure I will be happy by being right.
Heads or Tails
“Well, how do you do it? How to become happy by not taking things personally? You are standing at the kickoff of the match of your life, the match by which you will learn how to stop taking things personally. So as a referee, I brought my coin for the toss. And every coin has two sides: heads or tails. And they stand for two strategies, two strategies to no longer taking things personally. Saying Like sir, good evening. You’re the captain of this huge team. You can choose: heads or tails? He (“Captain”) says heads. Okay. You’re lucky. It’s heads!
Are you ready for the first strategy? OK, here it comes. First strategy, It’s not about me. What do you mean it’s not about me? This sounds weird, doesn’t it? Because when I take things personally, I’m convinced it is about me. When I see someone is looking at his phone, I feel offended. I think, “Hey, I’ve put so much effort and time in this presentation, I want respect. I think, Me, myself and I. “Sounds familiar, no? Yeah.
shifting focus from “Me” to “We”
The first of two strategies In fact, it isn’t about me. What if I try to look at it from the other person’s perspective, asking myself, Why? Why is he or she looking at his or her smartphone? Maybe he has just received an important message, one he has been waiting for. Or the topic of my presentation is not really his cup of tea. Could be! Or, on the contrary, he finds it very interesting and he wants to take notes on his smartphone. Very smart to do that, by the way. I simply need to shift my focus from “me” to “we,” and I won’t take it personally. If I try to see the intention of the other one, I make space for understanding instead of irritation.
What it’s about
Does this ring a bell with you? When you put your son to bed but he doesn’t want to, he throws himself on the floor, kicking and screaming “I hate you! “Do you take that personally? No, you don’t because you know this is not about me. It’s about what he wants, what he needs. He’s angry because he just wants to stay up a bit longer, that’s all. So the first strategy to not take it personally is, it’s not about me.
Look at the other person’s intention. When a driver is tailgating and flashing his lights, he probably does it because he’s in a hurry. It’s not about me, It’s as simple as that in theory. Because in real life, it turns out to be a hell of a job. Do you have any idea how many thoughts our brain produces a day?
Positive vs Negative Thoughts
Our brain produces around 50,000 thoughts a day! And guess how many of them are positive? Only 10,000. So this means that 80% of what we think are negative thoughts. That’s a lot, isn’t it? When you see two colleagues talking to each other, and just then, they look at you and they start laughing, do you think, “Oh, they must have noticed my new shoes and they want them too”? No! Or do you think, Damn, they’re laughing at me. They are gossiping about me.
So it takes a lot of effort to correct yourself and say, “Hang on”. I have no clue! They might be laughing about something that has nothing to do with me. Seeing the positive intention of the other one requires a lot of discipline and training. Yeah we all know that it’s hard. It’s gonna take a lot to get over your ego.
Train Your Brain
That’s why I became a referee to train my brain and ego to not to take things personally. I train my brain an hour and a half a week, the entire period of a match. I say this for the football dummies. Now, before the match, I’m warming up. Not only physically, but also mentally. As a referee I give myself some pep talk in the dressing room that “watch out”. Lots of things will trigger your ego during the game. You’re going to make decisions who some will not agree with and they will shout unpleasant things at you. I tell myself, Hey referee! don’t take it personally. Because It’s not about you.
They just want to be right. They simply want their team to win. “You see? When I focus on the intention of the other person, there’s no need to take it personally. I apply this strategy very consciously, I admit it, I feel much more at ease on the field. When the coach, the players or the spectators do not agree with my decisions, I’m less easily thrown off balance. This strategy works! But not always, unfortunately.
Raw Nerve Causing “Taking things Personally”
Because some words they shout at me, really hit a raw nerve and ego, “You’re a loser. Choose another hobby! Go fishing!” Maybe they are right. Perhaps I took the wrong decision. Maybe I am a loser. Honestly, that’s how I feel sometimes. Do you see this? Every coin has a flip side. When this first strategy – it’s not about me. doesn’t work, it simply means “It is about me!”. I have to look in the mirror and question myself. As a beginning referee, I still feel insecure.
Especially me. I never played soccer. It is about me because it has something to do with my insecurity, I doubt about myself. Or a part of myself that I haven’t come to terms with. Do you see my point? Even if I know that a driver is only tailgating because he’s in a hurry, I still take it personally when he honks or he’s flashing his headlights. So I must question myself.
Probably I was driving too slow and I’m aware of it. I just don’t like that clumsy part of myself. Why else would I take it personally, right? When I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, you are an orange, who would take this personally? No one, right? Why not? Because nothing in you believes that you are in fact an orange. Unless, you’re a ginger and you feel bad because of that. Which is luckily not the case with me. But when someone says, “You are so selfish” I do take it personally. And it only happens because I know there is some truth in it. If I’m honest, I’m aware of the fact that I do not always take into account other people’s needs.
Root Cause of Taking things Personally
When you are being criticized and it hurts, chances are big that this is rooted in your childhood. Maybe as a child you were never good enough. When you came home with a 9 out of 10,they said, “Hey, and why not a 10? We can only take things personally if it somehow touches a raw nerve. That’s the moment to give yourself some empathy. Ooh, this hurts.
Speak Up for Your Self
Damn! I’m longing so hard for recognition, and I feel sad if I don’t get it. you can also feel the same. Why not you just speak up. Just tell the other one what’s going on inside you. “Hey, I’m in the middle of my story here and you just walk away to switch on the TV? It feels as if you don’t care about me or my story. It’s not nice. “By opening up, by being vulnerable, by telling what you feel without blaming the other one, you increase the chance that the other one will understand you and take your needs into account. Do you see what I mean?
To conclude -how not to take things personally. First “it is not about me! Look at the other person’s intention”. If that doesn’t work Second “it is about me. Give yourself empathy and speak up”. Ladies and gentlemen, please, do not take it personally, but I really do hope that you will take a couple of things personally within the next hours and days. Only if you do, you can test out these two strategies.
Keep Your Value
Imagine, just imagine if we could all put this in practice. Wouldn’t that enhance our relationships enormously? Together we could create a better world. Wouldn’t that be great? And as a referee, I even earn some money by it. Who doesn’t like 20 euros to learn how not to take things personally? People may attack you, criticize you or ignore you. They can crumple you up with their words, spit you out or even walk all over you. But remember “whatever they do or say, you will always keep your value” and ask your self How Long It Takes To Change Your Life?