Don’t take things personally. So easy to say, often difficult to do—especially if what is directed at us is from someone we love or care about, someone whose opinion matters to us.

So how do you stop taking things personally, how do you stop someone else’s words or actions affecting your state of mind and your happiness?

When it comes to words, I remind myself that the other person’s opinion on any subject is based, and can only be based, on their own experience, their own fears, their own limitations and abilities. They most likely don’t have all the facts and so cannot see whatever it is they are commenting on from my perspective.

That said, maybe there is something useful in what they say, a lesson for me to learn, perhaps there is something I could have done better. That can all be true and I can reflect on it, learn any lessons, and then choose for their lingering opinion not to effect how I feel.

Walking in nature, and letting her rhythm wash through me helps me blow away any remaining negativity, as does reminding myself that I must be true to me, impeccable with my word, do my best. And, if I am doing that kindly, then what more can I do?

It’s also helpful to remind myself, especially when a negative opinion is being given, that it’s better to be kind than right (often I repeat that line as a little mantra in my head). It’s natural to feel a surge of anger if you view an opinion as unfair or simply untrue, particularly if it’s based on gossip, heresay or guesswork and not connected to reality. Opinions are given freely, and sometimes there is something helpful within them for us (not always!)

So what about actions? What if someone does something that seems unfair or hurtful. I used to have a huge problem when I deemed something unfair. Occasionally, I still have to fight down a surge of anger or indignation and remind myself: don’t take it personally. I ask myself what lesson may be learned from it, and like the suggestions above, remind myself that it’s my choice to allow whatever it is to effect how I feel.

Sometimes an event occurs, serious accident or death for instance, and it can be harder to fight down the “why me” feeling?

Accept that sometimes it’s ok to feel sad, perhaps even overwhelmingly sad with grief. Allow the feeling and accept why you feel that way, but don’t “feed” on it.

In time you can look through, look beyond whatever the event may have been, and know that however sad, your life will progress.

It’s okay to feel happy, to allow yourself to do something you love and to not take things personally.

I have found grief comes in waves, slowly the size and frequency of the waves becomes less, but they are still there. Sadness is a natural process. Filling your time with work, friends, meditation, as well as time in nature to reflect, will gradually ease the pain and allow you to get back to living your life and your dreams.


~ Mark


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