Do you find yourself getting into arguments and disagreements with your significant other because you take things too personally? You could get offended by things they said or do yet they had no intention of hurting you. Whether it is at work or home, you will get emotionally exhausted if you take things too personally. It is exhausting to constantly think that everyone is out there to get you.
Before we look at how you can stop taking things personally, let’s first look at why you take things personally.
Why you take things personally
You are not trusting
When you don’t trust those around you, you may assume that they are out to hurt you and you take things personally. When they say or do something that doesn’t sit well with you, you tend to misread their intentions and assume they did this to hurt you intentionally.
Trust doesn’t come easy, but too much mistrust is not good for you. One of the reasons you mistrust so much could have been caused by your upbringing. If you were brought up by parents that were unpredictable and inconsistent with their emotions, you can become mistrusting and bring this into your relationship.
You misdirect your emotions
You may be taking things personally when you misdirect your emotions. Am I making sense? Let’s say something is bothering you such as finances or something work-related. When someone says something, you take offence and accuse them of hurting you or your mood while in reality, your mood had already been ruined by the situation you are dealing with. Learn to direct your emotions to the right culprits and not hurt those around you while they innocently make comments that are not directed to hurt you.
You lack sufficient self-worth
You are likely to take things personally when your self-worth is wanting. When you have placed a low value on yourself, you take criticism poorly and tend to carry things with more weight than you should. For example, a boss at work could critic a presentation you made but you end up taking it as a criticism of you as a person.
You value perfectionism
You believe everything you do should be perfect and you’re not open to making mistakes. This kind of fixed mindset makes you a person that does not allow room for error. Therefore, when criticized, you cannot easily laugh at your mistakes but take your errors too seriously,
How to stop taking things personally
Laugh it off
Learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes. Perfectionism will only stress you. You cannot be blameless and flawless. Instead, when you make a mistake, learn to identify it and laugh it off such that even when someone else does point this out, you’re already aware of the fault and will not take it personally.
Have some trust
To stop taking things personally when people close to you criticize you, learn to trust a little. People that love you will not say hurtful things to you intentionally. Even though you have been hurt in the past, learn to trust that some people actually do have good intentions and are not out to hurt you.
Separate yourself from your mistakes
When you make a mistake, or when someone points out a mistake you have made, separate yourself from the mistake. For example, if a boss says they are disappointed in the work you did, recognize that they are disappointed in the work not with you as an individual. If your partner in a relationship says you didn’t do something they expected you to do, this doesn’t mean you suck as a person. You simply failed at that one thing and that’s it. You are not your mistakes.
Build your esteem and self-worth
A person with high esteem and self-worth will not be easily affected by the opinion of others. This is why it’s important to become self-aware. Self-awareness helps you understand yourself, and accept yourself as you are. When you have a deep sense of self-knowledge, no one can easily put you down.
I always suggest that everyone should gain some self-awareness for self-acceptance. There are some self-awareness courses online that can be really useful.
Own your good qualities
Don’t be embarrassed to recognize and acknowledge things you are good at. So you are not good at one thing! You are good at a lot of other things. Instead of taking things personally when something you are not good at is pointed out, remind yourself –and that person- a lot of other things that you are great at. This kind of flex will help you feel great about yourself.
Don’t guess, seek clarity
Sometimes, we take things personally simply because we have misunderstood what has been said. Instead of rushing to take offence, seek clarity and understand what the other person means and why they said what they said. A lot of misunderstandings arise from miscommunication and can be easily avoided.
Seek emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is whereby you learn to take charge of emotions as they take place. Emotional intelligence will help you not to misdirect your emotions. Instead, you study them as they occur and come up with ways to handle your emotions as they take place.
If you feel that you are starting to get agitated by something that has been said to you or about you, take a moment and process that emotion. Why has that affected you? Why do you feel the way you do? What is the backstory to having that comment trigger you? This kind of emotional processing will help you handle a lot of emotions in life including anger, sadness, and the like.
You can learn emotional intelligence using free online courses.