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Mental Mondays: How To Stop Taking Things Personally All The Time

Mental Mondays: How To Stop Taking Things Personally All The Time



ou have zero talent, how did you nail that job?” These were the words Alana’s sister blurted out to her in the middle of a heated conversation. What would you do in this case? Shrug it off and say, “Oh, she probably didn’t mean it or she’s just upset”, or would you sit there regurgitating the words until it’s anchored in your subconscious? This might be an extreme analogy, but very possible as humans tend to throw unfair words around, especially when upset.

The focus here is how to stop taking things personally all the time, and if you’re like me who had to lose friendships because everything they did had to have an underlying meaning, then you’re quite familiar with these emotions. From anger to disappointment, self-doubt and even esteem issues, when you’re in the habit of taking everything to heart, more often than not you’re overwhelmed with the negatives. Certainly, now’s a good time to step hard on the brakes.

What if I’m right?

On my journey to self-discovery, I’ve had to unlearn a lot of things like high expectations of others, my perception of how people should behave in a situation, how I see myself, as well as how to stretch my tolerance level.

I once cut ties with a very close friend because she took my secret issues to a group of ladies and asked them to “pray” for me. While her motive was right, her approach was intrusive and she still didn’t see anything wrong with that move. If I needed group prayers, I could have reached out “myself”. Why am I mentioning all of these? Because there are times when you’re well within your rights to be upset and take things personally, but how long are you willing to lick those wounds? I still wonder what we would be like now if I just forgave her. Maybe, I’d be more careful with the information I divulge but maybe we could have still made good BFFs.

Simply put, when dealing with people, don’t be so quick to take things personally all the time or cut them off, sometimes sit down and try seeing things through their imperfect lens. In addition, it’ll help if you understand that not one human walking the soil of the earth is perfect.

Yes, it’s possible to stop taking things personally all the time

It’s a relief to know despite our “humanness“, we can’t also hand people the power to determine our happiness. That is to say, you can choose how you react and dust negativity right off like a cobweb sitting on the walls of your bedroom. Imagine having to wallow in the negatives personally all day — from the rude taxi driver with the chauvinistic undertone to your boss who makes you feel incapable of your job whenever you make the slightest mistake or even a spouse who can’t take a joke and blows up at every little misunderstanding. You’d end up being so bitter even in your own right. In my opinion, it’s not worth it.

Why do you take things personally all the time?

For every reaction, there’s an equal opposite reaction and the world thrives on the principle of cause and effect. If you don’t know why you do the things you do, acknowledging the problem and seeking the solution might be far-fetched. However, here’re some reasons you tend to take everything to heart.

#1. An overthinker


Overthinking is both an asset and a liability. One minute you thoughtfully create a detailed strategy for your company, the next you’re overthinking the silly statement your co-worker said 6 hours ago. Do you see what I mean? The test of your self-awareness is your ability to use this trait to your advantage and put a stop when you’re ruminating over the sorry things said to or about you.

#2. Your ego

Photo: Keira Burton / Pexels

We all have triggers/insecurities and whenever a person’s words or actions strike that cord, we’re bound to go off. Try to figure out the kind of actions/conversations that set you off. One thing is certain, as we grow older, we can’t keep reacting anytime someone hits us below the belt. Sometimes, adjust your waistline and get moving, that’s self-control. Also being aware of your triggers and tackling your insecurities head-on can better arm you with a mature/controlled reaction.

#3. Self-blame / Low self-esteem

Photo: Keira Burton / Pexels

When you don’t feel good enough, it’s easy to project those fears onto other people. Each statement looks like an attack leaving you defensive and ready to strike. Try writing down all your good qualities and speaking positive words to yourself. You can’t expect people to be kind to you when you’re unkind to yourself. In addition, energy doesn’t lie and its results are evident especially when you’re known for taking things personally all the time. That’s not a reputation you need, trust me, I know.

#4. You’re going through it

Photo: Michelle Leman / Pexels

Life happens to us all in unavoidable ways and it’s natural to be short-fused and irritable, but remind yourself that everyone has their fair share of life and it’s a passing phase. This might particularly occur when an individual is emotional and hasn’t learnt to control their emotions.

#5. A control freak

Photo: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels

The minute things start to spiral out of control, you freak out. Remember you can’t control the actions of others or the ways they react to situations. You feel you have standards and people just don’t get you but maybe it’s because they are individuals and would rather try something different from yours.

Here are helpful ways to stop taking things personally all the time…

#1. Realize that no one is perfect

Photo: Olya Kobruseva / Pexels

Most times, placing people on an inflexible pedestal usually ends up with unhappy endings. This is because we are humans and humans make mistakes. It’s true, there are things you don’t expect from some individuals and it comes as a shocker, nevertheless, hand them a long rope by overlooking some of their shortcomings. Life is a lighter weight to bear this way.

#2. Be aware that things must not always go as planned

Photo: Jess Bailey Designs / Pexels

I always have brainstorming sessions with myself along with a long list of goals/tasks to achieve. However, when circumstances change, I become fazed and the only thing going through my mind is to get things back on track. I had to learn that sometimes, things don’t work out as planned. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put up a fight but know when to stop and re-strategize rather than taking things personally and throwing fits.

This quote works for me, try it sometime:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference” ~Reinhold Niebuhr

#3. Understand that perception is stronger than reality

Photo: Oleg Magni / Pexels

Sometimes when a person says or acts in a certain way, take a long breath and ask yourself “What else could this mean?” You could realize either it wasn’t about you in the first place or you misread the entire situation. Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge. When you take things to heart all the time, you could make people walk on eggshells when they are around you and it’s a matter of time before they start avoiding your company.

#4. Learn to let things go

Photo: / Pexels

This should be a familiar anthem people sing to you every now and then when you complain about the wrongs meted out to you. Making excuses for the other person or choosing happiness is still your best bet. Remember, happiness is free and available for all.

Featured Image: Caique Silva | Pexels

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