Stop Taking Things Personally

We take way more personally than we need to. Most of the time, people in the world are just living their lives, dealing with their own stuff. In fact, our society these days is so insular that now, more than ever, people are absorbed in what they see as their own individual world. We’re all living in our own little bubbles, yet we react to what other people say and do like it has something to do with us.

When people are disrespectful (from your point of view), challenge yourself to be empathetic rather than to react. When someone cuts you off in traffic, or cuts in front of you in line, or cuts you down, it can be a sign that s/he is having a bad moment, bad hour, bad day, bad week, bad month, or bad year. It takes time, practice, and commitment to learn to be empathetic and to not react. It’s a new habit. The learning curve may go like this:

1.   a negative external and internal reaction—feelings of anger, defensiveness, etc., with body language, words, and/or actions that push back

2.   to a negative internal reaction (with no external reaction)—an ability to control your appearance and demeanor, yet still feel frustration, judgement, etc., internally

3.   to no reaction (internal or external)

You know you have developed empathy and a habit of no reaction when you can smile kindly and authentically wish someone the best regardless of what they say and do. No matter what someone else’s words or actions are, they roll off you like water off a duck’s back.

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