3 Things to Remember When You Take Things Personally

Posted February 26, 2014 by Rebecca Niziol in On the Ladder

Every so often someone comes along and pushes our buttons. It’s as if they know the exact kryptonite that makes us react. In reality, they likely have no idea they are hitting your weak spot. But sometimes it can feel so darn personal, and it’s hard to let it go.

For example: Imagine you’ve put your heart and soul into a project and you’re really excited to pitch it to your team next week. The meeting comes and only 3 people show up, and off those 3 no one seems particularly enthusiastic. You leave the meeting feeling defeated, forgotten, and maybe a little embarrassed. The kicker… your boss says, “Don’t take it personally!”

How could you not take it personally? Your work is a direct extension of your values, your passion, and of yourself. When your work is not well received it’s easy to feel like you’re not being well received. If you find yourself often taking things personally at work remember these 3 truths to remain detached from those outcomes.

  1. You never fully know what’s going on in other people’s lives. We often make assumptions that the other person or people involved are doing something to us, or to spite us. This is not often the case. Instead of assuming that something is an attack on you, consider the other options. If someone didn’t show up… Might they be sick? Or taken care of their child? Sometime people have personal matters going on that they don’t feel comfortable sharing.
  2. You are not your job. When you spend a good 8-10 hours working each weekday, it’s easy to let your identity get wrapped up in your job. Truth is, you are not your job and you are not your work. When you remember there is a separation there it’s easier to handle criticism or rejection. If someone doesn’t like that report you did on Friday, that doesn’t mean they don’t like you. If your clients don’t show up for the special happy hour your put together, that doesn’t diminish the professional relationship you have with them.
  3. Differences spice up life, accept them. It’s easy to feel attacked when people don’t agree with your viewpoint. But imagine a second a world or a workplace where everyone agreed of everything…. Boredom would ensue. You don’t always need to prove what you stand for. Simply live out your values in your work and your work relationships and people will see for themselves what you believe in. Stay true to yourself, and acknowledge others truth as well. When someone disagrees with you it doesn’t diminish the value or validity or what you believe.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.