Do You Take Things Too Personally?

How many times does someone say or do something that really hurts yet when you stop and think about it, the situation seems as if it’s not about you – it’s about them? Do you feel like you take things too personally? Do you feel like you start blaming yourself for things that aren’t really your fault or responsibility? Do your feelings get hurt easily? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, that means there is something to unpack here. 

Pictures and metaphors help us look at things from another angle or perspective. So, imagine everyone carrying a suitcase filled with different issues – some might have more in their suitcases than others. However, everyone has something they are dealing with in their life. We might not be able to see it from the surface. 

There is no such thing as a “perfect” life. We all have feelings that get triggered based on things or situations that come up in our lives. The feelings might get stirred up by different situations or people. So, when you look around, think about what is really in your suitcase versus what really isn’t about you.  It’s something related to the other person's suitcase or issues.

  1. Look inside your suitcase to understand your issues. This is the first and most important step. What are your feelings, choices and behaviors? Take ownership and responsibility for your issues, choices and feelings. Blaming others only prolongs the healing process and delays your own growth and moving forward in your life. Figure out how you might have contributed to the situation and let go of the rest.

  2. Examine the situation.  Peel back the onion and look at what is really going on. Ask questions. Maybe something else is going on that has nothing to do with you. You might have triggered the other person’s pain or happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  3. Talk to someone safe. It can be extremely powerful to process the situation with someone else to get an outside perspective. They might see something that you are not able to see. Be ready for the feedback and, again, look within.

Everyone is in your life for a reason. Try to figure out what lesson you are supposed to learn or the gift this person brings to your life. Breathe and let the rest go.

-Kristen D Boice M.A., LMFT, EMDR Trained

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