Don’t take it personally

don't take it personally
  • Blog By
    Ms. Sumita Sen Mazumdar
    Editor – Content & Academic Coordinator – KG
    The Indian Public School
    July 30, 2020 | In Blog

We’ve all heard this phrase, “Don’t take it personally,” at one point or the other, especially after some constructive or maybe not so constructive criticism, but how many of us are open-minded enough to appreciate its true meaning and actually not take things personally?

Don’t give in to temptation

It’s tempting to react when someone has just offered you their unsolicited & unflattering critique. Here a distinction must be made between reacting and responding. A response would be an unperturbed acknowledgement that you’ve received their point of view, nothing more. A reaction is when you give in to emotions and end up communicating something inflammatory that could quickly escalate into something ugly.

Self-love is the answer

stay calm and poise while facing challenges

So how does one prepare oneself to stick to the response zone and not go into reaction mode? The answer lies in self-love. Self-love comes from an understanding and acceptance of who we are minus the embellishments we put up for the world because we think what we are isn’t enough to be accepted by them. Self-understanding and self-acceptance comes from an honest appraisal of our strengths and weaknesses. A person who has accepted themselves and is comfortable in their own skin is likely to remain unfazed when presented with criticism whether justified or not. Of course, assuming the person isn’t a narcissist or a sociopath. These are somewhat extreme psychological classifications where the person doesn’t react, not because they have achieved a level of maturity, but because of their underlying psychological condition. It is difficult for the average person to identify these types of dangerous manipulative personalities who can easily mislead others to further their own agenda. Either way, a good way to protect oneself is to realize that anyway, we cannot control what another person will or will not say or do, at least not beyond a point. So it’s up to us to control how we behave, how we communicate, how we respond to another person who could be trying to get a reaction out of us or is simply giving us their honest opinion with no agenda whatsoever.

The happy duck

Coming back to how to stay unfazed; stop looking for external validation. If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone has to like you and you don’t have to like everyone back either. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself where you can’t sleep if everyone you know doesn’t say nice things about you. As long as you maintain civility with the people you may encounter, that’s enough. More than enough, actually. Listen to what people say and use it to improve yourself. Self-improvement is always a worthwhile exercise even if it’s a minute change that you’re making. Remember, every drop of water adds up to make an ocean. Investing time & energy to improve yourself is a better use of your resources than engaging in a battle about who’s right.

whether to choose to react or respond depends on you.

Life is really too short to try and earn everybody’s approval for everything you do. Accept this and you’ll never ever take anything personally again. You’ll be like that proverbial happy duck merrily swimming while water rolls off its back, not wetting even a single feather.


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