Post #2: It’s Always Personal… Or Is It?

stone heart sand paths iStock_19139396For me, letting go of “taking it personally” is a main focus for my life journey, so I want to devote three blog posts to the topic. Please let me know if I am boring you. Seriously.  Comment or send me an email.

In the first post I talked about some changes that help me take life less personally, but did not give very specific practices. These next two post will be devoted to Reminders and Practices*.

  • Know that it’s okay to have strong feelings–AND healthy to make time to process them.
    • It’s okay to leave, just handle it graciously.  I used to think that when I was upset, even when it was extremely justified (being treated badly by another person), I had to suck it up and play nice. I would not even allow myself to go to the ladies room and cry or yell (silently). Then one day a colleague had a bad experience and left for the day. And our building did not come crashing down around her and me! It took me decades to let myself leave stressful situations, and when I do it’s so much more healthy and productive, for everyone involved.
    • Just be careful to handle it respectfully–perhaps tell the others that you just need a few moments, and you will return.
    • Be sure not to leave anything hanging–like a person on the other end of the phone.
  • Tips for processing feelings:
    • Let yourself cry. Fortunately tears are becoming more accepted in our workplaces. Perhaps full sobbing is best saved for a time outside the office. However, letting people know, really know, we are upset is healthy, for everyone.
    • Take a few deep breaths. Try to breathe into your heart.
    • Stand up. Reach for the sky. Stand on your tip toes. Take more breaths.
    • Hit something. Not a person and hopefully something soft.
    • Tell the other person(s) about your being upset AND phrase it as though the upset is a third-party. Also talk about your feelings rather than what the other person did, or is feeling. This removes some of the personal nature and keeps it from getting more personal. This seems lightweight and as such probably will not work, but often I don’t say anything because I am nervous about getting too emotional and perhaps attacking the other person.
      • Here’s an example, say “I am dissatisfied by the lack of follow-through on the Georgetown project” rather than “You did a terrible job on the Georgetown project.”
      • This also gives the others a chance to answer more objectively–which might provide information that changes the whole situation.
  • Make a decision whether to act, or not. Then stick with that decision. I sometimes have to remind myself several (hundred) times. It works. We all have better things to do with our energy than focus on the past.

What about your frustrating situations? What Reminders and Practices* do you use?

I love to hear more, so please leave a comment below!


* I use the term Reminders because we all know about this stuff, I’m just here to remind you once in a while, and have you remind me. I also use Practices because, well… we will be practicing for the rest of our lives. Nice!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Post #2: It’s Always Personal… Or Is It?

  1. I like the analogy of developing or growing “thick skin” over time. The idea is that as your experience life your skin can grow thicker and thus you let things bounce of you more easily! It has always been an encouraging thought for me. Often times I pray for thick skin too.