In my years of experience, I have come to realise that if one has a tendency to take things personally, it can take a huge mental and emotional toll on the person. At times we tend to overthink and overanalyse to such an extent, that it drains us of all our energy and positivity. What is left is a constant feeling of exhaustion, pain, anger, irritation and a sense of overwhelming. Does this sound familiar?
One morning I was having a conversation with a manager, who I was asked to coach. He told me: “I was moved to a new job profile two months ago. I was excited about this new opportunity as things were getting monotonous in my earlier role. Since this is a new profile, I was looking forward to getting some support from my peers. But I have felt continuously judged and criticised. I feel constantly cornered. It’s soul crushing. I have lost my confidence and my peace of mind.” The disappointment on his face and the slump in his shoulders was apparent.
I gently asked him: “Do your colleagues have so much power on you, to make you feel so incredibly hopeless?”. This was met with complete silence.
The fact is, at work we will always be required to deal with different & often ‘difficult’ people. We will be under the constant pressure to perform, deal with changing attitudes, office politics, competing for visibility and recognition. And all this, while juggling with demands of personal life too!
The important question is, how can one stop taking things personally? Here are four powerful strategies that can support you for not taking things personally…
Strategy #1: take a pause before reacting
Take some time out when you face a situation that you might have a tendency to take personally, at work. Don’t react. Calm yourself and take a deep breath. Take a walk, distract yourself, listen to music, step away, take a breather. Stall off reacting at first. This allows you to come back with more perspective to deal with the situation at hand.
Strategy #2: let go of what others think of you
People will always have an opinion, whether you like it or not. You cause yourself a great deal of stress by constantly thinking about what others think of you. You have to stop doing that – it’s stressful and time-wasting. Do your job with honesty and sincerity and let go of what others think of you. Eventually, it will not matter.
Strategy #3: focus on the issue, not the person
It is important for you to understand that it’s not always about you. Sometimes, people react a certain way due to their own issues, insecurities, and desire to control a situation. Don’t jump to conclusions. Give people the benefit of doubt. Try to focus on the facts of the issue and refuse to make it personal.
Strategy #4: don’t give your power away
When you let other people upset you, you’re allowing them to dictate how you feel. Stop giving your power away. Know that nobody has the power to make you unhappy. Take your power back by taking control of what you’re thinking and choosing a different line of thought. Taking things personally takes a toll on your happiness and on your peace of mind. There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. It’s time to make a new beginning! If not now, when?