Don’t Take It Personally?
Easy To Say
Tough To Do
That’s easier said than done. Most people who are capable of loving very deeply have rich emotional lives, and feel many different feelings during their lives. Those people, who are very sensitive to the feelings of another, are likewise very sensitive to their own feelings. For those sensitive, feeling people, it’s a veritable challenge not to take the words and actions of another personally. This is a personal practice that needs to be developed in order to cope with this ever-growing frenetic society.
Now, if someone says something to you that you find offensive, it’s human nature to react defensively. You’re annoyed because you perceive the act to be meant for you personally. It’s very difficult for you to believe that the comment was not meant personally. You have low self-esteem, so you might engage in this. It’s an irrational belief that these comments are truly meant for you personally. There are many people who are careless of speech, and do not examine what they say, and how it might be misinterpreted by others.
Analysis of the event may indeed yield something different. For the sake of ego survival, you need to re-examine that statement or act. In courts of law, it’s required that a jury reach a verdict based upon the condition that they believe someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Is there sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the other really intended it as personal? Is there any evidence that the other may not have meant it to be a personal offense? Suppose someone fails to answer your urgent text message.
Suppose someone fails to return your phone call? Is there really sufficient reason to conclude that he or she intended this as a personal affront to you? No, most likely not. People do things in haste and often without thinking. Some even contact you later and go through prolonged explanations as to why they were unable to get back to you.
Well, they too are a little lacking in self-confidence. No one, including you, really needs to present excuses for not responding to you in a timely manner. Likewise, you do not have to present excuses for failing to swiftly respond to a text message or phone call. You’re not obligated to justify your behavior, because it’s normal.
Consider the following factors:
1. Other Person’s Emotional State
There’s a myriad of reasons for a person’s failure to respond in an appropriate, polite, and prompt manner. This is a world in which people are pressured, and everyone responds differently to pressure. The response is usually emotionally based. For example, they are anxious, overtired, confused, distracted, or annoyed at something or someone other than you or your text message. They may not have wanted to respond to you at that time because they were upset about something else. In that case, the kindest thing the other person can do is to delay contacting you, so that they do not take out their annoyance from another situation on you.
2. Importance of the Issue
Is the event really worth your time to examine it carefully? Your time is valuable. Spending your time mulling over an apparent slight affront will only intensify your feelings of negativity and inferiority. Let it pass.
3. Your Own Sensitivities
You may also be tired. You may be feeling particularly inferior on one day and more competent on other days. That very much depends upon the demands of the day. Hence, you may feel more sensitive on a particular day, but feel fine the next day. It’s possible that you misinterpreted the other person’s statements or actions.
4. The Other Person’s Opinion of You
The other really may NOT like you! (Gasp!) The slight that you feel may indeed be genuine. This is not the end of the world. It’s irrational to feel that everyone must like you! The other person is entitled to his or her own feelings and opinions. In truth, you cannot control the way another feels about you. So, why bother trying? As painful as that may seem at times, everyone at your company may not like you. That’s simply the way it’s. By the same token you’re not required to like everyone else either! So there! Of course, it’s in the interest of the survival of your ego to be courteous just the same.
Above all, you need peace of mind. To accept the fact that you may not be the most admired of all others is an acceptance of your own humanity and that of others.
Striving to give others the benefit of the doubt when they do or say something that may seem offensive detours your mind away from the obsessiveness that can imprison your peace of mind. Such worries and obsessions are self-destructive, can cause brooding and rumination. Others are not spending a lot of their time thinking about you, so why spend a lot of time thinking about them?
Self-Esteem and The Esteem of Others
Self-esteem is a healthy sense of self-love and respect for oneself. It does not depend upon what others think. Teenagers often spend a great deal of their social life worried about what their peers think of them.
Therefore, they desperately try to imitate the mannerisms, appearance, clothing, and activities of the others.
Then they make every attempt to find out if they have successfully obtained that esteem. As people grow older, they oftentimes repeat this sort of behavior in their personal lives and in their work lives. Those people assume that the esteem of others will boost their own self-esteem. Does it really? Absolutely not!
Shakespeare said in his play As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” You’re NOT on stage with an audience to please. Do not try to watch yourself as if from the perspective of a camera, attempting to determine what you look like, and how your behaviors and words come across to others. You’re not playing a part; you’re not an actor.
The esteem of others is not as rewarding as it seems. Over the years, there have been many famous people who have committed suicide. Those are people who have enjoyed the applause of thousands. Their phones ring with a countless number of offers from producers, casting directors, and the like.
You would assume that these celebrities realized that they had the esteem of others, because they certainly did. This esteem of others, though, did not give them a sense of self-esteem and self-love. Tragically, they committed an act of self-hate instead. No, the esteem of others does not guarantee self-esteem. So, there is no point in depending upon the esteem of others for satisfaction. It cannot be found there.
Self-esteem comes from within the depths of your being. It does not come from the esteem of others. If others care about you, it’s not because of who you are. The esteem of others is not only the side effect of your own self-esteem. It’s:
1. The result of your compassion for others
2. The outcome of your efforts to reach out to others, not for your sake, but for theirs
3. The consequence of your merits and your achievements
4. The effect your personality has on others
5. The manner in which you live
6. Your qualities
To set out and look for the esteem of others exclusively is like chasing mirages in the shadows of dunes in the desert.