It’s Always Personal… Or Is It?

I am sensitive, always have been. As I become more self-aware I realize that much of the time when I am being sensitive, I am taking “it” more personally than was intended, or making a situation more about me than is meant by the other. “It” can be a comment, a look, or even a sound.kitten looking up, very graceful

As I have paid attention to this topic over the years I am more able to let go of taking it personally–I am less upset when another persons’ words or actions don’t agree with mine. Yet it’s also more important for me to connect with others on a real and deep level.

So, where’s that fine line between caring enough to really engage with others, and yet not taking it personally?

I have a few ideas:

  • It IS always personal, we are human persons after all. Most of us will always feel something in a communication with other living creatures–ranging from engagement to revulsion. Know that it’s okay to have strong feelings.
  • We can choose whether or not to let our feelings take over our actions. This requires us to acknowledge and process our feelings: anger, hurt, fear, sadness, joy, elation, happiness.
    • If we have strong emotions in response to a situation, there’s a split second before we react where we can ask ourselves if we are more emotional than the situation warrants.
      • If yes, then take another moment to figure out a response that is not personal. Then afterward take time to understand our strong reaction, and how to leave behind whatever triggered it.
      • If no, it probably still pays to take a moment to react in a more peaceful fashion while still letting the other(s) know that their words or actions are not acceptable to you.
  • We human beings are almost always so busy protecting ourselves that even when we do or say something to another (whether nice or mischievous) is usually based in our own needs and the other person is just a catalyst for our own feelings and process. Ahhh, the joy of being a human being.
  • When we take time to process our feelings, our response is usually more meaningful. More important, we are able to see the humanity of the other person behind their emotions and actions, and we know on a deep level that like us, they are just a human being–trying to do the best they can.

For me, recognizing that it’s always personal, yet not really about me allows me to let go of the drama, see the situation for what it is and react more peacefully.

Stay tuned for Reminders and Practices to help us “let go, let flow”*.


* A line from the great movie Something New. Check it out if you want to see Simon Baker pre-Mentalist.

PS: I learned a lot from a wonderful book on the topic, It’s Always Personal by Anne Kreamer. In the book she shares openly about her time as a senior executive at Nickelodeon, helps me to know I’m not alone, and that it’s ok to have feelings in the workplace, and ideas for growing out of being so protective.

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

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