Step 26: Don't Take it Personal

Try not to take things personally. What people say about you is a reflection of them, not you.
— Unknown

We can take offense to anything. A cough, a note, and a decision all have the power to send us into a tailspin. I know all about finding fault with an ill-timed sigh. Who else worries about whether everyone hates you? Or if you'll be able to avoid jail time for strongly suggesting someone stop popping their gum in a meeting?

I feel ALL of the feels frequently so I can expect to have an internal perception indicator go off when someone roles their eyes seemingly in my direction. Why are they annoyed with me? Why did they think it was OK to outwardly display their displeasure? Do I cry or say something snarky? Now sometimes my indicator is right. Someone else's action was directed at and intended for me because of something I did. But more often than not, it's a false alarm. It has nothing to do with me.

Here's a quick checklist for those times when you are feeling offended.

1. Is this person talking/looking/breathing at me?
Sometimes they are looking right at you. Sometimes they aren't even in the same room as room. Use those eyes to determine who they were speaking to. If you weren't even in the same room, it's a good chance this isn't about you.

2. Are they reacting to something I said/did?
If there was a conversation between you two and you noticed a moment of silence and a sudden phone call, maybe you said something they didn't want to hear. Or maybe you accidentally took their lunch out of the company fridge and never put it back. But if you've been on your best behavior and you get a shady remark, this probably isn't about you.

3. Did they mean to hurt/offend me?
After the shady action happens, run it back in your mind. Step in another direction and think about what they did after they offended you. Did they look sad or angry? If they continued their reign of terror on someone else, it's not about you. If they scurried off to a corner, they didn't mean to hurt you.

The lesson is to step away from the ledge that is your feelings. Even if you were on the receiving end of a rude comment, consider that it may not even be about you. They may be going through something. Or they may be racist. Sexist. Homophobic. Trans-phobic. All of the things that have, again, nothing to do with you.

Evon Williams

Washington, DC

Lover. Writer. Budding PR/Marketing Consultant. Emotional and Mental Growth enthusiast. Sex Positive Supporter.

You can find me @goddessevon on most social media sites.