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On not taking things personally

The Weekly Seeker #6

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As humans, we can sometimes take things really personally.

Like when someone cuts you off in traffic.

Or someone fails to hold open an elevator door for you.

Or someone criticizes some aspect of who you are, what you look like, what your life choices have been.

Or someone disagrees with one of your deeply-held values or beliefs.

Taking things personally is one of the surest ways to disrupt your own inner peace.

It can be a huge trigger, especially if some part of you is expecting or wanting everyone to like you, to agree with you, to be kind and respectful and understanding.

Luckily, many people in this world are kind and respectful and understanding.

Many other people are not. Many people are still asleep, living unconsciously, not feeling connected to anything bigger or wiser than themselves. Many people are out there just trying to make it through the day.

And people who are asleep tend to just react – they often don’t respond to life from a conscious, loving, peaceful place. They don’t know how to do that. I think we can forgive them this, because we were once asleep ourselves (and WE also reacted unconsciously to many things in the past).

This means that when you take something that someone says or does (or fails to do) personally, you’re actually getting mad at where they are on their journey of evolution.

You’re blaming them for their unconsciousness, not seeing what’s actually happening at a higher, broader level.

Consider these points:

  • Someone who judges you is reacting unconsciously (because judgment is unconsciousness).
  • Someone who criticizes you is reacting unconsciously (because criticism, of self or others, is unconsciousness).
  • Someone who cuts you off in traffic is reacting unconsciously (because being unaware of your surroundings and endangering yourself or others is unconsciousness).
  • Someone who can’t accept or actively belittles your life choices, lifestyle, appearance, or beliefs is reacting unconsciously (because non-acceptance and resistance are unconsciousness).

Now, this doesn’t mean you must respond to someone’s unconsciousness by saying, “oh, you are still asleep, poor little you. I am better than you.” You also don’t have to say, “oh, you’re reacting unconsciously, so I must forgive anything you say or do and love you anyway and allow you into my life.”

Sometimes, you must set a boundary with people who are chronically unconscious, harming you or themselves in the process.

But, at the same time, you must also notice their unconsciousness and be willing to not take it personally – because it isn’t.

Next time you’re tempted to take something personally, try to pause and breathe instead.

Notice how YOU are reacting unconsciously in that moment, by getting attached to this idea that someone has said or done something specifically, personally, to “get” you in some way.

What if, perhaps, they’re just asleep? What if this is the only behavior or pattern they know?

Set a boundary, if needed. Be assertive, if needed.

But be willing to let things go and not lose your entire hour, day, or week being triggered by someone else’s unconsciousness. It’s just not worth it.

With love, your friend,

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