How not to take things Personally

‘Tis the season of hurt feelings, manipulations, and other stuff that certainly feels very personal. Unreasonable expectations from ourselves and others abound. So why would I post a Ted Talk about not taking things personally?

Yup, this Ted Talk is one man’s ideas on how to not to take thing personally. It was a timely reminder for me that I am sharing with you.

Takes about 15 minutes to view. One of the wonderful things about being a grandmother is finding out that many of the things that I took personally about my children wasn’t about me at all. My first child about the age of one years old stopped growing. I panicked. I thought I was doing something wrong. I tried about eliminating milk from our diet and several other things. Six months later he started to grow again but with a big drop on the growth chart. I took this personally that I had done something wrong. Fast forward about 30 years… daughter called in a panic. Her son, my grandson quit growing about one years old. I reassured her to not take it personally and that he would grow again just like his DAD. Yup, that growth pattern was not about me and not about my daughter-in-law. I was reassured I didn’t need to take it personally but it felt so personal.

I chose this example because it sounds a bit more concrete than trying to talk about my relationship with my mother. When the therapist told me not to take her actions personally, I looked at him like he had two heads because her hating me felt really personal. My last conversation with her, my mother explained why she hated me so much, I was born a girl. She saw me as competition. It was nothing I did or said…..she didn’t see me at all. Her hatred was her own fears worming through her thinking tearing her up inside. It came out as hatred for me with a host of different slights, cruel words, and treatment that certainly felt personal but really wasn’t about me at all. She lost getting to know both my sister and I because of her fears based on the dysfunction in her family.

I started paying attention more and more often to different relationships I had. I was a trained people pleaser. I tried desperately to please every boss, my children and my husband. I put myself under tremendous pressure to be this person I wasn’t so I could single handedly meet all their needs. I failed. It was an unrealistic impossible task because most of what happened was not about me. It wasn’t personal that I couldn’t meet all these needs, it wasn’t about me at all. Yes, I was an employee and needed to give value for me work to be paid but some of the things they demanded were about their insecurities as a boss and not about me. Every child believes their mother should provide all good things with no bad days, not realistic, children aren’t realistic, it wasn’t personal it was about their needs. My husband and I went to marriage counseling that rapidly turned into me counseling as my therapist tried over and over again to point out, I can’t make my spouse happy and it wasn’t my responsibility to do so. A life time of training was pulled apart and retraining occurred and part of that training was a lot that happens to me personally is not about me but about the other person trying to cope and meet their own needs. I would say learning that their actions was not about me a significant game changer. I hope each person reading this finds joy in the holidays and peace in their lives and remember much of what happens may feeling personal, I challenge you to not take it personally. Hugs to all.

Not my picture and lost the link years ago but I feel this really says it. Dance through the holidays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.