How Not To Take Things Personally
When people disrespect or disregard you and your opinions, it is only natural to take their behaviors and actions personally. When things like that happen, it is easy to blame yourself and think that other people’s behaviors are your fault.
It is important to remember that taking things personally is draining and an unnecessary reevaluation of your self-esteem. When you do not take things personally, you have more control over your energy level and, more importantly, your emotions. Here are some tips on how not to take things personally:
Psychological Reasons Why You Take Things Personally
1. You are a social perfectionist
Social Perfectionism happens when a person cannot stand the thought of others seeing their flaws, imperfections, and mistakes.
If you believe that you have to be perfect in front of other people all the time and that you always worry and stress about what others might think of you, then taking things personally is inevitable and unavoidable.
2. You talk to yourself negatively as a form of motivation
We grew up learning that the only way to become successful is to always be tough on ourselves. This then leads to an unnoticeable but powerful habit of negative self-talk. We think that if being tough on ourselves will help motivate us to work harder and succeed.
When other people criticize or give you unwelcomed and difficult feedbacks, a habit of negative self-talk can quickly attack your thinking. In turn, instead of accepting or considering the mistake as a one-off, you end up making extreme interpretations to yourself.
3. You are afraid to be proud of yourself
In Western culture, there are plenty of people who grew up believing that pride is a bad thing. People think that pride is putting yourself above other people or thinking that you are better than others. However, you have to remember that acknowledging your strengths and virtues is not always bad.
4. You are afraid of being assertive
It is essential to be friendly, kind, polite and put others’ wants and needs before our own. However, it is never healthy to take it to the extreme to the point of forgetting that you are human too. Your wants and needs have to be addressed too.
If you deny your wants by becoming too accommodating towards others, you will take things personally more often than you should.
5. You get lost in your stories
Taking things personally happens right after we have been criticized. It is quite tempting to see and use other people’s words as the thing that hurt us, that is not entirely true.
Almost 50 years ago, cognitive scientists proved a theory of emotion that most philosophers have been trying to sway and convince us for a thousand years. It is called cognitive mediation.
Cognitive mediation’s main idea is that things do not cause emotions. Rather, it is our thoughts and feelings about things that affect how we feel.
Ways To Stop Taking Things Personally
1. Stop worrying about what others think
The truth is, it is not anyone’s business what people think of you. You should worry about what you feel about yourself and what the people you care about love, think of you. Strangers who volunteer their unwelcomed opinions of you have nothing to do with you. If you stop caring what others think, you will become more free and liberated. You will also have more sense of self.
2. Do not jump to conclusions
According to research, when people judge or critique you, it is rarely about you. It is almost always about them and their needs, issues, and desire to control you or the situation. In order to help manage and handle your response to confrontations better, you should know what you are sensitive about and what type of things trigger your emotions. This way, you are ready if and when someone mentions them.
3. Do not give your power away
When you allow others to make you feel upset, you are letting them dictate your feelings. You are giving them power over you. You can avoid this by:
- Take control of what you are thinking and changing your line of thought.
- Calm down and take deep breaths.
- Tell yourself that you do not give anyone the power to make you unhappy.
Stoeber, Joachim., (2009, May 9). Self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism: Differential relationships with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and test anxiety. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from
Wignall, Nick., (2020, October 22). 10 Types of Negative Self-Talk (and How to Correct Them). Retrieve December 26, 2020, from
“Cognitive Mediational Theory,” Cognitive Mediational Theory definition | Psychology Glossary, Retrieved December 26, 2020, from
Brenner, Abigail., (2014, August 26). How to Stop Taking Things Personally. Retrieved December 26, 2020, from
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