Not taking things personally is so difficult; particularly here in the "Dream of the Planet." The reward for avoiding that "hole in the sidewalk" is unimaginable, particularly for a personalized sense of self.
Not Taking Things Personally!
by Keshav | Mar 12, 2021 | Community Insights | 14 comments
I can be surrounded by others and feel alone or feel oneness. I can be alone and feel alone or feel oneness. It is my perception or misperception that makes the difference. In my experience, in awareness there are no others, there is only oneness. I have also learned that I am at one even with those that are in the illusion of separation. This is the part that is harder for me to remember, the part where my illusion of separation seems real.
Carol, that is my experience as well. This being said, I find it easier with some than with others.
I’ve noticed that when I am able to drop my sense of importance I am able to be fully present for others. I’m much more able to listen and understand where someone else is coming from. And especially more able to see someone from a fresh point of view.
For me, there is a direct connection between taking things personally and self-importance. Both temporarily overshadow the intimate nature of Self.
Donna, your words…
“I am not the center of the universe…” remind me that it’s not about me so I don’t need to step in and to fix things that are not mine to do.
“…I AM the universe.” remind me that we are all connected, I am not alone. There is so much peace in this.
In psychiatric services we you to say no one can make anyone feel anything. So, if someone says you make them feel crappy and that makes you feel crappy, that is a choice on both sides. As a wise group member said to me: If you see that this issue points to something that you need to work on (for yourself) then do that. If so there might be mirroring going on. If not, then don’t take it personally.
I still seem to get caught up in the notion that the way someone else is feeling has to do with me. There's a desire still at work wanting to think that I have an affect on others and it is hard at work playing both sides of the net…it"s because of me that someone feels crappy and its because of me that someone feels good. I have noticed that it's usually leaning towards the former and that it's because of me that someone feels crappy. That it's somehow my fault which then makes me feel crappy. I find it interesting that I lean towards an obvious desire to feel crappy. I am sitting outside in warm weather feeling the sun on my face and as I type I hear my neighbor practicing on his drums. The birds are communicating and the breeze is light. A fly buzzes around my cup. I feel a smile form on my face. I am not the center of the universe. I AM the universe. How very small I get sometimes causing me to forget just how immense I am, how immense we all are. I'll do my best to remember
When I have feelings of guilt about what I didn’t do I am taking myself personally! How ridiculous is that?
What makes "not taking things personally" challenging, is all of the evidence we accumulate to justify our belief that we are victims of life circumstances. And, that our challenges are somehow unique, or more viral, when compared with "others."
The antidote to that particular malaise is to consciously live life as it is, right here and now. How life literally appears in any given moment is dependent on how we choose to experience it.
The way to know that we are taking things personally is the thought that life is a burden, and out of our control. Arguments with life with mantras such as "this should not be happening," are so painful that they inspire a change with our relationship with the fictional me.
Another way to take life personally is to think that “this shouldn’t be happening to me. Or “why is this happening to me?” Whenever things appear to be ganging up on me, I take it personally. Of course it seems that way but is there some gremlin mucking up the works so that one thing after the other goes wrong? I made an appointment for an alignment, showed up early, checked in, they couldn’t find my appointment. They put me in the computer and told me 1 – 1.5 hour. Not wanting to wait inside I went on a 50 minute walk, then returned to find my car still where I parked it. I was told my car just went in. Cutting to the chase I asked for my coupon back and left. Before this I had issues with my medical insurance delaying by three weeks getting a new provider. I was annoyed that COVID vaccines in Arizona were now offered to my age group except those in my county. Furthermore I was very confused about how to get on the wait list. I then couldn’t get into my patient portal because the verification phone number was my previous number, in spite of the fact that the office checked and the correct number was in my data. They couldn’t fix it. It did feel like life was ganging up on me. But of course it wasn’t about me. How could it be? Fortunately Keshav posted this quote of the week and I was reminded this was not about me.
The feel of letting go of minds interpretation of a separate sense of self is incredible. The only speed bump is the “need” to justify or protect something. As I have built my relationship with “the space”, the speed bumps are simply a tool to redirect myself back home.
Not taking life personally is often mistaken for not caring. "Not caring" is often mistaken for "not interested." Quite the contrary!
Beautifully put Carol.
I find that choosing not to take life personally also exposes the cavernous difference between blame and responsibility.
I always know when I am taking things personally by the amount of anxiety I feel. I find taking things personally to be just another form of clinging. When I can drop my sense of importance in the scheme of things I can live free. When I no longer perceive threat (or even personal relevance) at every word or action of others I can live without judgment or narrative or interpretation and an unfiltered life becomes much easier. The words and actions of others have only to do with themselves.