Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
We live in a world where people’s negative emotions are more dominant then positive emotions. Where people use unkind and unloving words to talk to, and about, each other. We project back our insecurities, jealousy, hatred onto other people and create a negative environment. In turn this negativity makes us unproductive and lowers our spiritual vigor.
How do you deal with such negativity?
There are always alternative ways to deal with negativity than to return back the negativity.
Here are 10 ways to No Longer Take Things personally and live in peace and harmony.
1. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way I can take this personally. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
People are unconscious about their deepest fears, insecurities and they keep projecting their own darkness, ideas, deepest desires, inner conflicts and struggles onto those around them.
What people fail to realise is that the problem lies inside and not on the outside. But it is comparatively easier to reflect our unconscious desires onto others rather than looking them in the eyes and facing them. And that most of the things people say and do, have little, or nothing, to do with the people they are “describing”, but a lot to do with who they themselves are, and the internal struggles they are facing.
People’s words, ideas, thoughts, behaviours are influenced by their past experiences and their unconsciousness. Their words don’t describe the people they are “attacking”, nor do they reveal who others are. But rather they reveal the pain, the suffering, the darkness and the many wounds that are present within them.
It is always good to remember that human beings are generally constructive in nature and have no intentions of destroying others. How they treat you is most often the reflection of their unresolved inner conflicts.
2. Don’t give it too much attention.
Thoughts have power, creative power. And since there are no idle thoughts (for every thought you think creates a belief, belief that you will later on craft your reality on), the more you dwell on the negativity, the more it hampers your mental health.
It is crucial to not always focus on the negative words people speak about you. In contrast, try to imbibe the positive words your well-wishers shower on you. For words are very powerful tool to influence anyone, negative talks have the power to poison your heart, your mind, your body and your life.
People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action. ~ Steve Maraboli
3. Just be yourself.
Recognize that nobody knows you better than you do. So the ideas people hold about you are their personal attributions about you. It has no power to change what you are, however malicious it is. Never make other people’s opinions of you a priority over your own opinion about yourself.
Bernard Baruch said it best with these words: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Keep in mind that is your duty to be true to yourself, to accept every flaw you have and provide yourself the love you deserve. If you have a path set for yourself, walk on it. Don’t wait for others to walk alongside. If certain people don’t agree with the way you live your life, that’s their problem, not yours.
4. What other people think of you is none of your business.
In The Tao Te Ching (500BC), a work many consider one of the wisest book ever written, there is a great line that goes like this: “Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” Once you care about what others think of you, and once you start seeking their approval and validation, taking every actions and words of others’ personally, you immediately become their slave; you become their prisoner.
You are a free individual – free to think, free to speak and free to chase your dreams. Don’t let anyone put you in that position.
Keep reminding yourself that what others do or say is none of your business. Rather it has a lot to say about who they are. Their negative words don’t spoil your image, it spoil theirs.
5. It’s not worth your time and energy.
How much time and energy are you willing to waste trying to understand why certain people don’t like us?
Do they like me? – Every time you ask yourself this question, do ask yourself another question in addition – Do I like myself?
Once you get an affirmative as an answer you are good to go.
We make a principle mistake when we focus on the negativity we receive from others instead of focusing on those who love and cherish us and instead of feeding our hearts and souls with the love and kindness we receive from these people; we choose to dwell upon why some people don’t like us.
By doing so we not only waste our precious time and energy, but we also poison our minds, bodies and souls, which by the way, it’s just not worth it.
6. People give what they have in their hearts to give.
I firmly believe that we all are born with an innate need to give – to offer to others around us that which we have in our hearts. Those people who are at peace and whose hearts are filled with love, kindness and compassion, spread love to everyone they come across.
They give joy, laughter, peace and happiness. While those people who are in distress, and whose hearts are wounded because of the many challenges, trials, abuse, trauma, hardships and painful experiences projects them onto the people they come across. At the moment that is all they have to offer to others. Our ability to realise this will help us be less harsh on people who we think intentionally spread negativity.
With that being said, “Can anyone be justified in responding with anger to a brother’s plea for help? No response can be appropriate except the willingness to give it to him, for this and only this is what he is asking for. Offer him anything else, and you are assuming the right to attack his reality by interpreting it as you see fit. Perhaps the danger of this to your own mind is not yet fully apparent. If you believe that an appeal for help is something else you will react to something else. Your response will therefore be inappropriate to reality as it is, but not to your perception of it.” ~ ACIM
7. Never confuse the behaviour with the person.
We all know that children are born pure and innocent, with a blank slate, which slowly fills with different colours and often it is pitch black.
As they grow they start experiencing life through the filters of societal beliefs and their innocence starts to fade. And if in the beginning they looked at life and everyone around through the lens of innocence, through trails they faced in life, they finally realise that the world doesn’t work in such simple ways.
With age, their innocence is replaced by fear and insecurities – fear that “forces” them to act in unkind, inhuman, selfish and unloving ways, creating a lot of pain and suffering for themselves and for those around them.
Don’t take it personally. Don’t make their pain your pain. Don’t make their darkness your darkness. Help them if you can, by giving them your love, compassion and understanding, and by helping them understand that love is their true nature, while fear is nothing but an illusion. And if that’s something you can’t do, make sure you don’t feed their pain by reacting in unkind and unloving way, and by confusing the behaviour with the person, for that would only create more suffering into their lives, and into your own life.
8. Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
No matter what anyone might say to you, and about you, and no matter how much negativity people might try to bring into your life through their actions and behaviors, never allow the pain that might be created to make you hate.
Never allow resentment to pour through your system, continuing to poison your heart long after you have been “bitten by the snake.” Keep your heart pure, free from negativity, hate and resentment. For everything you do flows from your heart.
9. Let Love forgive.
Fear condemns and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced. ~ ACIM
When I was a little kid, whenever me and my siblings would argue or get into a fight, at the end of it all, I would often run to my mom and complain about the mean things my siblings said or did to me. And my mom would always tell me the same thing: “If you are the bigger you will forgive and let go.”
Even though most of us believe that forgiveness is an act of weakness, the truth of the matter is that forgiveness is an act of strength not of weakness. You don’t forgive because you are weak but because you are strong enough to realize that only by giving up on resentment you will be happy.
The bigger person always forgives. Not necessarily because they think that the other person deserves it, but because they know that they themselves do. Because they know that forgives cleanses the mind and purifies the hearts of all the negativity that might have gotten into our system because of all the hurtful things that might have been said and done.
Keeping our hearts open and allowing life’s many gifts to shower us and to continue to make us feel nourished, loved, cared for and appreciated.
10. Set peace of mind as your highest goal.
Turn your back to those things that aren’t meant to bring you peace, joy and happiness into your life, and constantly focus onto those things that fill your heart with love. Set peace of mind as your highest goal in life and let nothing and no one interfere with that.
Let nothing and no one disturb your inner peace. Whenever you are faced with a difficult person or situation, ask yourself: “How can I handle this situation in a way that will not disturb my inner peace?” And make sure you only act in ways that will help you maintain a state of inner peace and tranquility.
Why do you think it’s so challenging for people not to take things personally, constantly chasing after people’s approval and validation? You can share your insights in the comment section below.
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