Not personal

I wrote yesterday about the pitfalls inherent in taking the impersonal events of the world as personal – living as if they are out to get you.

Now, let’s come close in, to the actions of the people around you.

What about when

your children don’t tidy up their rooms,
your partner leaves the washing in the sink,
your friends don’t call on your expected schedule,
your colleagues are absorbed in a task that’s unimportant to you,
your client turns down an offer,
your boss decides priorities are different to yours,
someone cancelled your project,
someone you were relying on didn’t meet your standards or expectations?

It’s hard not to experience ourselves as the centre of our known world. Was there ever a time when you were not the person closest at hand in your life? Because of this, your tendency may be to take much more personally than is ever the case. And each time you do, the possibilities for responding intelligently, rather than reacting impulsively, close down dramatically.

Mostly, it’s not personal. Not when the train is late and not when people didn’t do what you expected. Do these affect you, often deeply? Yes. Do you have an interest in what happens next? Yes. Is this proof that everyone and everything has it in for you? Unlikely.

When you drop your insistence that it’s all about you, you’ll be able to drop your resentment, your indignation, and your need to get even. And you’ll open up a huge space for responding – creatively, powerfully, compassionately, imaginatively – a much bigger space than the one you might be thrashing about in right now.

Photo Credit: Kuzeytac @Vacation via Compfight cc