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Don’t Take This Personally, But…

By The Drunk Jedi

Kinda Master Your Life by Following the Crooked Path of the Drunk Jedi

First thing’s first. You clicked on this article way too quickly. You sensed there was something over here that might offend you, and here you are, all ready to be pissed off.

What is wrong with you?

I’ll tell you what, because I’m the Drunk Jedi and you’re the masochist. You’re one of way too many people on our planet who take everything too personally. And also, you like to be right. You take it very personally when you are right. It obviously means good things about you. (Right?)


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But this article isn’t about you, Mr. Smartypants.* Well, I guess it is about you, in the sense that I’m writing about people taking things too personally and you’re probably one of them. Oh, come on. Don’t get mad. I’m just saying.

Here’s why you shouldn’t take things personally: When people talk to you, they’re not actually talking to you. Not usually, anyway. When people talk to you, they’re usually talking to themselves. They’re saying what they need to say, and doing what they think they have to do, in order to make themselves feel okay. To navigate through their world. To grow in the way they feel they must grow.

Maybe they had a bad day, and in order to feel okay they have to give you the finger. Maybe they’re scared, and in order to feel okay they have to back away from you and not talk for awhile. Maybe they have a very narrow vision of what the world should look like, and in order to feel okay, they have to condemn everything that doesn’t coincide with it.

Is it right? No. But people are always working out their inner landscapes on the outer landscape. People who are chronically unhappy or angry have inner landscapes like minefields.

Say that guy you met at that party the other night returned six of your text messages, and then abruptly stopped responding. Why? Did you text something wrong? Did he find a fat-looking picture of you on Facebook? Actually, it probably has nothing to do with you. Even if that guy says he doesn’t like you because you’re stupid, it has nothing to do with you. He’s dealing with his own opinions, his own beliefs, and all the programming he’s received throughout his life. And you can’t control that.

So your boss is verbally abusive? Okay, I hear you. The so-called “bad boss” is so common they made a movie about it.

Breathe deeply. Shut up. Consider that you probably could have done what your boss wanted exactly right, and he’d just find something else to go off about anyway—if not now, then later. That’s because your boss is not upset with you. Your boss is upset, period. Your boss cannot get his mind out of a horrifying circle of high overhead, low ROI, the guy who was in his parking space this morning, the bird that crapped on his windshield because he had to take a space next to the bushes. Your boss takes everything personally. The world is out to get him.

Don’t be your boss.

Our Jedi friend Don Miguel Ruiz said it best in The Four Agreements, when he said, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

Am I saying you should put up with bad treatment? Hell no! If you spend too much time around someone with an inner minefield, address it or do what you can to extract yourself from the war zone. But don’t take it personally that they’ve planted a bunch of landmines everywhere.

That’s a pretty good first step toward deactivating your own landmines.

Repeat after me: Ahem. I hereby resolve to not take people’s actions and words personally. I understand that they are reacting to themselves, and their vision of the world. I understand that it’s not my job to educate them, and that I can be happy without having everybody behave the way I want all the time.

 

* Yes, I said “Mr.” Stop taking it personally.


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