Does someone else's bullying personality make you feel worthless? Do you mistake people's antics for subtle insults? This article will highlight some ways to remain unaffected by how others treat you, whether it's a weird look, a teasing remark or direct criticism.
Give the benefit of doubt
If you have a habit of taking things personally, it means that you're apt to assume someone is directing some form of aggression towards you when they could be just joking around or having a bad day. It might be your instinct to react emotionally, but pause for a second. Maybe it's not about you. Learn how to control your emotions. Don't jump to conclusions.
Refocus your attention
When you take things personally, you shift your attention from what someone said or did to how you feel. Unless you move on from that point, it's likely that you'll ruminate on the negative feeling and amplify it. Instead, focus on the other person.
- Look at how the person treats others. They might tease or insult everyone they meet. Some people are just antagonistic like that.
- Consider the person's insecurities. Could they feel threatened by you in some way? If so, don't feel bad for being your awesome self. Think about how you can help this person feel better about themselves.
- Keep in mind that the other person may have poor communication and emotional management skills. Imagine that there's an inner child acting out, because the person hasn't learned how to deal with things in a mature way. It's much easier to be patient and feel compassionate when you visualize a learning child at the helm of their behavior.
Remind yourself that you don't need anyone's approval
If you're especially sensitive to how people treat you and you often overreact, you might have a strong radar for rejection. You worry that you're doing something wrong if you pick up on any kind of displeasure, and you want to fix it. But just because someone isn't happy with you doesn't mean you've done something wrong. In many cases, it means that person isn't happy with themselves and expects you to fill in the blanks (which is impossible).
Let the person know how you are feeling. They might not realize how hurtful or aggressive they seem and how it is affecting you. Use "I" statements. If this is recurring,use nonviolent communication to try to end it and resolve any underlying issues.
Stop taking compliments personally, too
If you base your self-worth on how often people compliment and validate you, then you're allowing others to decide how you feel about yourself. If someone compliments you, it's no more personal than a direct insult.They're simply calling it how they see it, and that may or may not be accurate--only you can be the judge of that. If someone compliments you, that doesn’t make you a better person, it makes them a better person because they're taking the time to be supportive and encouraging. Your value remains unchanged, because it's something that comes from within.
Don't act too worked up when you're upset at someone. It gives people more reason to believe the criticisms.
- Don't stop taking things personally to the extent that you absolve yourself of any responsibility. If someone's treating you poorly, it is possible that you did something wrong. The focus of this article is to remember that it doesn't automatically mean you did something wrong. You still need to evaluate your role in the situation.
- When following the step Speak up:, be sincere. If you're seen as patronizing or implying criticism, it might detonate an aggressive response in the other person and further complicate the situation.