The moment you refuse to take things personally is the moment you set yourself free to be happy.
That sounds like quite the inspirational quote, but I’m so serious when I say that refusing to takes things personally is the key to living a happy life.
Here’s what I fundamentally believe (borrowing from Don Miguel Ruiz):
Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality and their own dream.
Isn’t that the truth!?
But for some reason as humans we have this tendency to assume that people are thinking about us more waaaaay more than they really are. We think they’re staring at us, observing us and being critical of us.
And as a result we tend to think people have it out to get us when something goes wrong.
- Didn’t land that deal? That person didn’t like me.
- Didn’t get the job? They didn’t like me.
- Coffee taking forever at Starbucks? That barista doesn’t like me and is doing it on purpose.
- Your business not doing well? Your customers think you’re a joke.
Or the ultimate assumption - you didn’t include a smiley face in that text?! You must be mad at me.
Feel me? We do this A LOT!
But, my friend! Not everyone is out to get you and not everything needs to be taken personally.
The majority of the time, I’ve learned that people are just living their lives, completely consumed in their own worlds and their actions have nothing to do with you. It’s about them!
You can believe me or not but know that recognizing this has the power to make you drop your guard a bit and breathe easy. Not everything needs to be taken personally.
In practice, this idea is really helpful because it allows you to move from rejection to rejection and from frustrating circumstance to frustrating circumstance without doubting yourself and feeling like a victim.
- That person didn’t cut you off in traffic because they hate you and think you’re worthless. No! They did it because they’re late to their meeting and their *ss is on the line.
- That person you talked to once on that dating app but never heard back from doesn’t think you’re a loser/ that they’re out of your league. No! They deleted the app because they decided to stop dating.
- You didn’t get the job at that company but that doesn’t mean you’re not capable or valuable. It could be anything! They could’ve already made up their minds before interviewing you, decided to hire internally or not at all.
The fact of the matter is, people act out of their own self interest and that rarely is a reflection of who you are.
When you recognize this you also recognize that the only reflection of who you are is what you do. NOT what someone else does.
People act to protect themselves or better their own lives. Yes, that might sometimes suck for you and be frustrating but it’s not always a case of them thinking less of you.
So don’t doubt yourself and don’t take their actions personally. In fact, don’t even think about it. Brush it off and go about your life.