Taking it Personally? Not me

quote-when-we-really-see-other-people-as-they-are-without-taking-it-personally-we-can-never-miguel-angel-ruiz-59-9-0904Sometimes it’s hard to step out of a situation and look at it from the outside. Whilst angry, harsh, defensive or blame words are flying about the emotional content of what is being said it top of the agenda.

That’s a point my Guides have worked with me to recognise. We all have an agenda. A list of things that we would like to have that make our world how we want it. Or a set of expectations about what we have to do and how others should fall in with them. When the energy of change is round and about it’s much easier to take things personally. Usually because we are off balance from the changes that are happening. It doesn’t matter if the changes are inward or outward. Emotions are on the rise.

I know that much of the difficulty with agendas is that they are in my head. And the head of the other person too. Yet the agendas may be very different. I might want a quiet life – you might want a loud party. If you are my neighbour there is a potential for disagreement if you do hold your party. Perhaps we will both ignore the noise at the first party. What about the next one? Or the one after that? And what if you want to party every night and I want quiet. It could quickly become a personal grievance between us. If we were taking it personally perhaps the word and actions we used would fracture our neighbourliness even more. Before long we could both be entrenched in our positions. Both of us miserable. Both of us fearful.

Of course, there are difficult neighbours. We only have to look at the state of global relationships to see how agendas take rational, reasonable people into sometimes quite extreme positions. How do I make sure that my agenda stays positive and constructive?

One of the techniques I use is to step outside my mind. By that I mean that I recognise that I have both fixed and fluid ideas about what would make my life the way I want it. Fixed ideas are the bits of my agenda I’m not prepared to change easily. The fluid ideas are the ones where I can react from an ‘Am I bothered?’ point of view. So if my neighbour has noisy parties only once in a while I am much less likely to get into a situation of taking it personally. However, if I have very sensitive ears so all noise is an intrusion then I might actually want to stick to my point of view. And it might be impossible to resist getting drawn into some sort of dispute.

Whether the issue challenges my fixed or fluid expectations when I look at it outside of my agenda I find I have other choices too. For instance, like going away for a few days when the party is being held. So the next thing I try to do is step outside of my feelings. I ask myself why I’m feeling this way. Is it because I feel disrespected by my neighbour? Or am I upset because the noise scares my cats? Maybe I lived next door to someone who partied all night, every night, and the occasional party now brings up all the old feelings? Understanding why I’m feeling a particular way, perhaps even recognising that my reaction is a bit extreme, I can help myself not to take the issue personally. I can do that by releasing the feeling in a deliberate way. Often a physical way.

Perhaps I go and bash my pillow for a bit. Or stomp on the empty cardboard boxes to crush them (this is good for the recycling anyway!). Or I go for a run (no, not seriously but it’s an option).

I’m always amazed at the way a good physical effort will release any pent up emotions. Sometime a good yelling session accompanies the physical exercise. Mainly in a field or by the road on a quiet bit of moor. The words can fly out, free to be recycled by the wind into positive energy. It’s important to me that the words do not get aimed at anyone. Words are such strong energy and I know that they can do a lot of harm to someone’s aura if said with enough intent. Especially if that person is wide open in their energy. Learning to protect my own energy has been a great way to step out of the energy of words aimed at me. It’s my final way of not taking things personally.

Of course, it also depends on who is speaking to me. Or about me. Those closest to us find it hard when we change. It means they have to change too. I try my best to align my agenda with theirs but it’s true – I can’t please all of the people all of the time. So I don’t take it personally when they are unhappy with me if I’ve done my best to explain. Not necessarily to fit with their agenda. We may have to agree to disagree about the way the world is. There is one type of agenda I definitely don’t take at all to heart. I don’t even give it any of my time or attention. It’s the one based on gossip.

If someone wants to dream up stuff about me, or knows me so little that they want to spread rumours or just wants to cause an argument they are welcome to get on with it.

Gossip is a source of negativity. If you want to know anything about me all you have to do is ask. Of course there are some things that are private and I won’t open them up for discussion. However, if someone can waste their time and energy manufacturing or magnifying situations it’s their loss. I won’t respond. I don’t take it personally. The people I care about know who I am, what I’m likely to do or say and that certain things are so unlikely that what is being said can’t be true. My focus is on positive things, supportive words, compassion and love. Of course I’m not perfect. No one is. Keeping my attention on my own agenda, being mindful of my thought and feelings I’m far less likely to deal with situations as if they are a personal attack.

I dream that in the near future everyone, every country across the globe, learns the benefit of stepping out of taking it personally and into personal responsibility.

Day 268 of my blogging challenge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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