Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Take Things Too Personally

We can easily be hurt or become angry when someone does something that doesn't fit with the way we feel we should be treated. We take things personally. I know I usually get reminded of this daily.

Someone leaves the cap off the toothpaste. Someone else doesn't clean up after themselves. Someone cuts you off in traffic. Blows their horn when you stop to let a pedestrian cross. Some days it can be a seemingly endless list of petty and major issues of disrespect.

What if it wasn't about us?

We take it personally because to us we are the center of the universe. Everything around us and interacting with us is personal. What if the other person doesn't even know we exist? When they blow their horn they don't know us from a hole in the ground. They are just acting out their frustrations with their personal world or acting absent mindedly from their needs.

It is when we take it personally that it causes suffering in us and reactive responses from feeling hurt to outright anger. When the cap is off the toothpaste just put it back on if that is what we want.

Nothing is personal even when they insult us. They are simply acting out their frustrations, anger, fear or issues of self-worth. Short of being a safety issue for ourselves do we want to join them in having a frustrating life or do we want something better for ourselves.

The choice is ours.

22 conversations:

Comedy + said...

Well, bad drivers often get a piece of my mind, but they can't hear me anyway. I don't flip them the bird because that can get you shot here.

You are correct that our reactions to these things should not be taken personally. I will try very hard to not take them personally. Honest I will. Okay, I may have a bit of a problem with the bad drivers that try to run us off the road, but everything else I'll work on very hard. You certainly make us think! See you tomorrow Peter. :)

Peter Haslam said...

I will definitely not honk my horn at you Sandee :) Thanks for the input

Dick said...

I have only been reading your blog for about a week and I have too tell you, you make my day with your excellent common sense.

Christina G said...

Whenever I start to take things personally, I try to put myself in the other person's place and understand what they might be thinking. This usually diffuses the situation, as then I can sympathize that maybe they are having a horrible day, or just don't realize that what they are doing is annoying me.

And with bad drivers, I just remember that the driver is someone's dad, mom, grandparent, kid, sibling or friend and would I want someone reacting to my relatives or friends the way I want to react. Works like a charm.

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Dick and Christina G for joining the conversation and adding your insight

HollyGL said...

Peter,

This reminds me of one of my favorite books, The Four Agreements. You're right it isn't about you, generally.

Although, I will say that I can also be inclined to look within to see if certain things that happen on the outside are mirroring something I need to address within.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Right on Peter :)

Carol said...

Guilty as charged! When did I not become the center of the universe? :)

Mimi Lenox said...

Great reminders. It is so easy to internalize all of the above that happens hourly.

Breathe in....breathe out....breathe in...breathe out....

Uh. You've been tagged by Queen of Memes. http://mimiwrites.blogspot.com/2007/06/i-cannot-tell-lie.html

Peter Haslam said...

As always HollyGL a good check with the right perspective as you have pointed out.
The Real Mother hen thanks for joining the conversation
We are Carol sometimes we just need to that same right to others
I will check it out Mimi thanks

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i guess i am guilty of this. sigh...

on another note peter, i think cleo needs her own blog. i visit cat blogs every day and your sweet little girl is getting left out of the loop! come ON!!!

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

i am Cleo's ghost writer Bee :)

-Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Bravo Peter! Your post makes a marvelous point! Chillax! Life is short enough, why squander your energy on the unnecessary!

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Jeane Michelle Culp for your excellent addition to the conversation

Wonder said...

SO true, Peter. We're always saying we're not egocentric because we think and care about other people, but when something bad happens to us, we're the first to go "Why me?" XD.
Very nice post :)
W.

Peter Haslam said...

Good point Wonder and thanks for joining the conversation

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

cleo has the upper left corner for the day!

Peter Haslam said...

Cleo and I thank you Bee

-Suzie- said...

wow! I never thougt about it that way. You might have saved me from another heart attack ... just because I am getting more and more 'Diva' ... and I don't even know why this is happening ... maybe I get away too often with taking me 'as the center of the universe'....mmmhh.

Peter Haslam said...

Hi Suzie and thank you for your addition to the conversation. We can sometimes find ourselves on a roller coaster ride and have forgotten we bought the ticket. It is our choice whether to stay or get off and choose a better ride

Ed said...

I believe we cant give offense, only take it. Shame everyone is so touchy!

it is very soothing reading your posts catching up on the past week or so.

cheers

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks Ed for your addition and it is good to see you back