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How Can I Not Take It Personally?

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One of the most over used statements in my experience is the phrase “Don’t take it personally.” It used to make me at turns very angry and at other times would crack me up. After all, how can you not take things personally if you are, after all, a person?

It’s like asking a rabbit not to take things in a rabbit-like manner.

It’s a process of desensitization that is so highly valued that we often make fun of people who are still capable of getting their feelings hurt in relationships or at work.


There has to be a fine line, some sort of tight rope that we walk between being totally crushed by the personalizing sensitivity of the weight of words and actions of those around us -- the way the chips fall -- the lay of the inner and outer landscapes of our environments.

And being so insensitive and uncaring that not only do we no longer react in a personal way about things, we actually stop feeling other things that come with being sensitive, like compassion, empathy, understanding, altruism.
One of the perks of growing older is developing an ability to sort out when you can let your guard down and take things more personally, and when you can keep your cool, keep your feet on the ground, and your skin thick and just plow forward.

Depersonalization is a dangerous road to go down. What can start out as a layer of self protection can quickly become a way out of intimacy of all kinds, an inability to trust anyone, a cold detachment from meaningful human relationships where you particularly isolated and emotionally cut off from others.

If we are to retain our sense of empathy and our ability to reach out to people who may need our warmth and compassion then we have to understand our emotions well enough to understand when we may get our feelings hurt and when we may just need to ignore what’s going on around us.

Depersonalization in relationships can simultaneously be a blessing and a curse. To not take things personally that your significant other says or does is fantastic! What freedom! You don’t fight! He/She is not MAD at you, they are simply tired and you KNOW that!

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Great article. Thanks. I'm one of those people that others would call 'too sensitive.' Hey, I would get sensitive about them calling me sensitive! But, as you say, you grow up and realize that people use that crutch to get away with being cruel. They play mind games as if you're the one with the problem! So you identify those kinds of people and learn to deal with them or go on. You learn balance, plain and simple. I love being sensitive on one hand - I cry at movies and when my friends describe their pain. Being sensitive has empowered me to do things I wouldn't have if I had been cold or cowardly. But on the other hand, I've learned to care less about things I can't do anything about or people who try to test me in some way.
It makes me - me.

Thanks again,

May 22, 2011 - 9:34am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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