Looking at the title of this article, ‘How to take things personally,’ may bring up quite a few things in you dear reader. After all, haven’t many of us on a frequent basis, been told NOT TO TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY? As if that would make us truly resilient.
In reality, what if I told you it was okay to take things personally, that it’s not wrong to? It is okay to feel hurt. True resilience is found in allowing ourselves to experience our emotional pain in order to learn from it. In return, we expand our capacity to hold all feelings and emotions and to navigate their territory. It also allows us to develop more compassion for ourselves and others. Whatever hurts you is valid and deserving of your attention. What hurts in you allows you to discover more about your beliefs. It helps you to establish your identity and your firm NO in life. Taking things personally does not mean you are defective, too sensitive or wrong.
When other people see us feeling hurt, it is sometimes in their best interest to have us negate what we feel in order for them not to have to deal with how that makes them feel. Their avoidance becomes just as much ours. At other times people generally care and want us to be happy. However, their wanting that for us does not change the fact that we may be experiencing the very feelings or emotions that they want us to avoid having. Care is not a negation of how we feel.
When other people tell us, ‘Not to take things personally,’ in some sense, they are invalidating our experience of how things were, or are for us. Essentially, it is like saying, ‘You should not feel that way, nor do you have a right to’, that the situation you are experiencing does not warrant hurt feelings or emotions. And even better, they would have handled it differently, and you should have handled it in a way they find pleasing. What they do not realise is, it is not about whether you take things personally or not. It’s about connecting to your experience of how things are for you in that moment and what it means for your identity.
By taking things personally, you are acknowledging you have feelings. That you are establishing what feels right and wrong for you.
By not taking things personally, you are saying you don’t have boundaries and that it’s okay for other people to have done and said the things they did. That every time you don’t take something personally, you enable others to continue to treat you that way. That your feelings and emotions do not matter.
People around you can either tell you, ‘Not to take things personally’ or they can be emotionally brave and say. ‘I can see you felt hurt about that, tell me about it.’
So by all means dear reader, please do take things personally because some things just are.