We know we should take the higher road, but how do we rise above someone else’s rude words, or lack of consideration?
It is an art, according to author Shemsi Prinzivalli, but one that can be learned with a few simple reminders:
Nothing is Personal
Remember that everything another person says or does is a result of the sum total of their unique life experience thus far, and as such is coming from a place that we are not privy to. The vast majority of what people say and do comes from their fears, defenses, and beliefs, and has absolutely nothing to do with us.
Even with those closest to us, it’s helpful to remember that we are all just characters in each others ‘play of life,’ and each lead actor has their own projections and filters that color how they see and react to the world.
This means we don’t have to take things other people say and do personally, since it very rarely is. More than likely, it is simply a misunderstanding, and we are just the one who happened to be standing in the firing range.
Seeing the Other Person In Pain
When we can take a step back and realize it’s not personal, we also allow room for compassion.
Every time someone lashes out in anger, criticism, fear or defense, we can take a moment to remember that they are simply reacting to protect themselves from pain.
When we can see that someone is actually suffering (even when they don’t appear to be), we have an opportunity to show patience and kindness, instead of reacting to the perceived slight or offense.
This may mean simply not reacting, and saying nothing in response, allowing the intended barb to fall harmlessly short of its target.
No Harm Done
While this doesn’t mean we allow ourselves to be hurt or taken advantage of, knowing nothing is personal allows us to see that abuse can only occur if we believe what the other is saying.
As we practice not taking things personally, we begin to realize that we can only feel abused or criticized when we accept what the other is saying as truth. But when we know that who we are and our inherent worth is not determined by what others say, do or believe, we can walk away unharmed.
We can simply say, ‘Thank you for sharing your opinion’, and move on without creating more pain and drama, and without needing to convince the other person of our inherent worth and value.
Learning the art of not taking offense may take time, but the results – more contentment and less drama – are well worth it.
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