I’ve read in several places now that nothing that anybody else does to us is personal. Well, not personal to us, anyway, but it is personal to them, if that makes sense.
Here’s an example: If I don’t like a certain coat that someone is wearing, and I tell them so, I am expressing my personal opinion of the coat. I’m telling the other person that I don’t like it. I am letting them know that I have a problem with the coat. They may not like me telling them that I don’t like the coat, but that is a separate issue. My problem is with the coat. Not whether my liking or not liking the coat may or may not upset them, but just that I don’t like the coat.
Here’s another example. I have my haircut and I like it. My friend, however, doesn’t like it, and they tell me so. They are being honest by telling me what they think of my haircut, but as I like it I don’t have a problem. Personally I like it, so what they are saying is their personal opinion of my haircut. They personally don’t like it. They are telling me how they personally feel. And how they or anyone else personally feels has nothing to do with me.
I’ve commented on feelings in the past, and only we are in control of how we are personally feeling. Until we feel good, there is nothing that anyone else can say or do to make us feel better, until we choose to feel better ourselves. Likewise, if someone says something to us about our coat or haircut that is negative, they can’t make us feel bad about it unless we choose that option. Besides, they aren’t being personal to us, but they are expressing their own personal problem or opinion about what they don’t like about us.
The problem with opinions, is most people tend to take the opinions personally. Me included. I know that everything I’ve typed above makes perfect sense (well to me anyway!) but still find myself feeling hurt by other people’s comments at times.
Looking at the fact that nothing is personal means that if someone gives a compliment, that is not personal too. They are merely saying what they like about us. These personal comments we accept, because they are positive. I think we all want to be liked rather than disliked. We’d all rather be around people who like us rather than those who don’t.
Usually though, it is only certain aspects about us that are liked or not liked, in varying degree. Some people like more qualities about one person than they do another, and I think that if there are many more qualities that are not liked about a person, then the two people involved would just move apart naturally. But what they like or dislike is nothing to do with the other person, it is ‘simply’ how they feel about that person.
I try not to give my opinion to anyone nowadays, unless they ask me to give it, and then, I try to be as positive about it as I can. I know people who have characteristics that I don’t like, and I try to steer clear of these people whenever I can, because, I think sometimes my dislike is written across my face – and that isn’t fair on the other person. It’s not their fault that I don’t like their coat, is it? It’s probably better for them if I’m not around them, and it keeps me more positive too!
What I have just written may sound a little negative, but it isn’t meant to be. If I have the opinion that I don’t like someone, that person could try to move mountains to make me like them. If I don’t change my opinion of them, whatever they do will not be enough. They’ll feel bad because they can’t please me. I’ll feel bad because I don’t like them and they are constantly doing all this stuff to me.
Luckily, I don’t dislike people to that extreme. I like more things about people than I dislike. And if they do something that annoys me, then it’s up to me to react in the best way I possibly can.
Whatever anyone does to us, they aren’t being personal to us, they are being personal to them. They can say something spiteful. They can punch us. They can even do worse to us. But whatever they do, it is because they are acting on what they feel about something about us. We may not be helping the situation by deliberately provoking this reaction from them, perhaps just by being there, but they are acting on how they feel they should in the situation. I think the best course of action if someone does act this way around us is to leave their space, if possible, or avoid contact with them completely.
Having written all that, it isn’t easy not to take things personally. I want to be liked by everyone I meet, which I know is impossible. I want to forgive completely all the bullying I endured years ago, but that happened before I knew or read about this way of thinking, so the damage that was done back then is done. The best thing I can do is leave all that behind me, and move forward.
Things will only get better if I don’t take comments that people make about me to heart. Well, I’m going to try. If nothing else, it’s another way for me to feel good about myself. At least I’ll have more control of how I feel.
That’s my opinion, anyway…