How to Not Take Things Personally

95% of the time, people are stuck in their thoughts. They are not judging you. They are too distracted with judging themselves. We spend the majority of our day caught up in and distracted by our own thoughts -- whether they are fear-based, self-doubting or obsessive. The ego part of our personality (I do not mean egotistical), is like the little devil on our shoulder telling us that we are not good enough or that guy sitting across the restaurant is making fun of us in his own mind. Our ego leads us to believe that other people are so concerned with what we are doing.

I have news for you. They are not. Think about it: are you more often than not thinking about yourself? I don't mean that you thinking about yourself may always be in a selfish way. However, whether it's concern about what others think of you, or if you're doing the right thing, or about how you are feeling, we are more often than not consumed with self. People are not watching you like you think they are. They are thinking about themselves.

To prove my point (and again, if you are a healed individual, this will not be the case for you), take some time to reflect about what the majority of the thoughts you have today are about. Do they not at some point or another usually circle back to you? And if you are judging another person, isn't it usually something you envy or pick on because it is something about them that you don't have or that you don't like about yourself?

How we judge others is a reflection of us. How others judge you is a reflection of them. Judging another person, instead of trying your best to have compassion for them, is a reflection of your own inner turmoil. There is no reason to put down another person, unless you are trying in some way to make yourself feel better or justify your own unhealthy behaviors. Doesn't really work, does it? And if there is someone who is spending a lot of time talking about you, it is in an effort to distract themselves from their own defects.

So let's flip that. If someone is judging you, wouldn't that say more about them than it does about you? Being consumed with thoughts and fears about what others think of you will keep you stuck in insecurity. It will keep you stuck in self-doubt. It will keep you stuck, period.

Many people seek therapy (or relationships) for validation. By seeking that validation, those people think they will become complete or whole. When we seek validation from external forces or people, we will more often than not end up disappointed. The validation you seek has to come from within yourself. Say to yourself those words of affirmation, tell yourself you did a good job, keep promises to yourself, take care of your mind, body and spirit by engaging in healthy activities like exercise, meditation, breath work, eating well, etc. Take time to observe and question your thoughts (see previous posts).

You may be in the habit of taking things personally. And therefore, you create unnecessary suffering for yourself. You think the actions, reactions and words spoken by another person mean something about you. And then you in turn judge and doubt yourself. The actions and reactions of other people are a reflection of their inner world. They are a reflection of how they feel about themselves. If they doubt you, they doubt themselves. If they criticize you, they criticize themselves. If they betray you, they betray themselves.

Repeat these statements over and over to yourself until you rewire your brain to think differently. Break the habit of taking things personally. What others do and say has nothing to do with you. Unless you are intending to harm another person (which I really hope you're not), their perception of you is their own shit.

The next time you are concerned what someone else is thinking about you, ask yourself "Is it absolutely true that that person thinks that about me?" "Is this a story I am telling myself, or is this reality?" "Is this hurting me, rather than helping me?" "Is this something I need to address, or something that I need to let go?"

You cannot read other people's minds. Therefore, you will never know what someone else is truly thinking about you, even if they are! They are more likely than not thinking about themselves. And if it is something that is causing problems within a relationship, or seriously harming a dynamic, then ASK THEM about it. Remember, being passive aggressive helps no one.

Is there something about yourself that you don't like? Write down what you want to change. Write down what you're trying to seek validation for. And then next to each of those things, write how you can either change it, improve it or provide validation for yourself. Again, we build self-worth by keeping promises to ourselves. But make sure you are making those improvements for yourself, not to please others.

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