Don’t Take It Personally

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“Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly.” ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

dream rocksOne way to reduce stress in our lives is to learn not to take things personally. This means we will choose not to go into a place of hurt and resentment over things others say or do. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Someone else gets the promotion, a friend cancels a planned outing because something else came up, a spouse says something hurtful during an argument, or a teen goes for days without speaking. These are all situations that could cause us to be upset, angry and resentful.

These feelings come up because we have the expectation things will go our way. We expect to get what we want, that others will put us first, that a partner will always speak to us with loving kindness (even if we do not), and that our children will always be happy to see us and greet us with a smile.

Clearly, if we have these kinds of expectations, we will spend a lot of our lifetime being angry, upset, and trying to change others. Our mood will end up being determined by the words and actions of others, rather than by our own inner compass. Those who are vigilant about the behaviors of others, watching for any signs of perceived mistreatment, also tend to spend a lot of time telling others how they were wronged. They dwell on the incident, holding on to it for a long time.

This is a very hard way to live, and the truth is others will at times disappoint us. Loved ones may say or do hurtful things usually because they are hurting. It is probably also true that we are not perfect, and may knowingly or unknowingly do things that upset others.

So rather than focusing on the negatives, it is wiser, and perhaps more challenging, to see just how much we can let go. Smooth sailing in our lives is not so much about calm waters, as it is knowing how to navigate the rough spots and keep on going. The journey is much more pleasant this way.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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