“Don’t Take This Personally, But…”
That sounds like good advice, right, to not take things personally? But is it even possible? Here’s the problem, we tend to look at things going on around us as if they’re actually happening to us.
Especially when we’re struggling emotionally, when we’re stressed, or feeling down we can be quick to play the victim card, and slow to take responsibility for our part in things.
Have you ever felt like a punching bag?
To make matters worse, there are all kinds of things from our past, events and trauma buried deep in our Root System, that can come back up to the surface when we get “triggered” by reminders. In an instant, a specific wound or situation from our past is re-lived.
Then, along comes someone with a little critique, a correction, a reprimand… and snap! Have you ever been there? Have you ever taken a healthy criticism poorly? Well, here are some indicators that you may have taken it personally:
- Your self-worth felt jeopardized
- You retreated into victim mentality
- You held onto it like it was an insult
- Felt like your character was being attacked
- Your mind couldn’t let it go. And why is that?
Taking things personally creates a negative feedback loop that’s tough to break out of.
A defensive posture, being constantly on guard, and wary of the intentions of others are all indicators that you feel “under attack”.
Open-hearted and appropriate
Ideally, we should take a more objective stance; one that’s open-hearted and appropriate to the situation we find ourselves in. However, our knee-jerk reaction is quick, and it’s usually an under or over reaction. But, what if we could respond in a healthier way?
Can we actually learn to NOT take things personally? Is it possible keep a steady balance, an open mind, and an objective perspective? I think so; listen to find out why!
482 | How Not To Take Things Personally
Chris LoCurto 0:00
It's easy to receive the comments, opinions and criticisms of others as a personal slight or insult, but how can you put a stop to that that is coming up next?
Chris LoCurto 0:22
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto´s show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. I hope you're having a fabulous day wherever you are. Today, we continue to dig into some super practical topics on our series of how to episodes and once again, we're doing a different version where this is actually a how not to episode. And joining me from beautiful downtown Belle Paseo Sicily is Brian Alex, welcome to the show, Brian. I think I'll go into this series of announcer announcer did you take that personally, brother? Did you feel slighted? A little personal? I don't even
Brian A 1:12
like your announcer voice
at all right? Why don't you just talk to me like I'm your friend cheese. Today, it's funny, because that's exactly what we're talking about is possibly receiving things as a slight or somebody's comments or somebody's opinions or whatever it is quite often that we tend to receive people's opinions, thoughts, comments, personally. So you take it from here, and we'll dig in.
Brian A 1:45
So as you mentioned just a minute ago, it's easy to take things, you know, that are going on around us. And you know, my mind goes to whether I'm driving, which you know, here in Sicily is a challenge sometimes, whether it's something that somebody says, or it gets stuck in your mind that the cashier frowns and in the checkout line, whatever it is, I have a tendency, we have a tendency people have a tendency to be subjective, sometimes. And instead of thinking about why wonder what they're going through and thinking about the other person, it's very egocentric, very self centered. And, you know, so I catch that in my in my behavior, try to curb that. But, you know, there are also all kinds of triggers from past trauma from our root system, all of that, that makes us relive and brings to the surface some of those emotions. And so it can be difficult, it can be difficult to stay objective, open hearted and and to respond appropriately in every situation. And I'm sure we never deal with that. And next level lives, correct. I mean, that never comes out. Yeah, yeah, it's
funny, there's many times we will go into a next level live for a strat plan. And I need to just make it a standard thing. But many times we will go in and depending upon personality style, sometimes I will share, hey, listen, there's gonna be some things in here you might struggle with. And when you do get into that struggle, quite often what people try to do is they try to make me their villain, you know, there's something that they're losing worth on struggling through, and then it becomes an attack on me. And it's not everybody. As matter of fact, it's a very small number of people. But it does happen from time to time. And if I am not focused on what we are doing, if I didn't know the things that we teach, then it would be incorrect. I mean, we wouldn't actually have a business, I would shut it down after the first event and go, forget this. I don't need any of this junk. And the good thing, and that's, you know, while we're talking about this today is that there are tools and ways of looking at situations to understand it's actually not usually it's not about you 99.9% of the time, it's actually not about you. And so what we'll talk about is what's healthy, what's unhealthy, you know, what does that look like? And sometimes, what does it like to actually receive quality criticism, as well. So we're gonna dive into all those things when we come back right after this. Folks, if you've been listening to me for any length of time, then you know, the number one issue when it comes to business, when it comes to family, when it comes to friendships, is having a lack of high quality communication, to make sure that you are absolutely winning in every aspect of your life. It all starts with having great communication. The best way to get that communication is to understand your personality style, and to understand the personality style of the folks that you're spending the most time with With whether it be at work, whether it be at home, the best way to do that is to go to Chris accredo.com/store. And get your personality profile and personality profiles for your team to day, get it for your family members. Today, as you go through that profile, you will begin to see the greatest ways to communicate, go to Chris ducker.com/store today. Alright, so we are back, Brian, where do you want to go first?
Well, I want to ask you a question. Chris. Are you ready? And do do your best not to take this personally. Okay. But how can someone stop taking things? So personally, you've, you know, I have all of my hiccups and foibles and little triggers and all of this. So help me help you help me. This is where I want to go.
Oh, you're so funny. Jerry helped me help you.
That's probably a jacked up quote from Jerry Maguire. So if you just call it a foible, that gets rid of everything. I'm sorry, I'm just struggling with avoidable. All is good. Here's the thing is that you have to be able to separate? What is quality information? What is quality criticism? What is somebody who's trying to help me from somebody who wants to hurt me, somebody who's losing worth somebody who's struggling themselves? This is an incredibly difficult thing. We just had a great event not too long ago, where somebody was struggling with something and I just I dropped my voice, I dropped my tone, I dropped my height, because I'm super tall, you know, just to get down below their eyeline and just ask some perspective gathering questions which hurt, it stung it, it was a struggle. But the goal was to say, hey, here's a thing to walk through if you want to. And I even asked, Do you want a gut punch? You know? Are you willing to tackle something? And praise God? That person was like, Yep, let's do it. Because I'm not trying to hurt a person, I'm trying to help them see something that they can fix. That is not what happens. Most of the time. Most of the time, we have our opinions, most of the time we have, we take stabs that people throw barbs at people, if I don't like the way that you're doing something, or or if I feel a specific way, because of the way that you're doing something, then there's a really good chance that I'm actually going to throw out a BB, I might just straight on attack you. And because of that most people are used to that style. It makes it incredibly difficult to listen to a guy who's trying to teach a guy who's trying to help, right. So we have to work through what is healthy and what is unhealthy. If you're struggling with a foible, and I just love that I get to keep putting that word into this episode. If you're struggling with something, and I can see it, the first thing I have to ask is, do you want any help? You know, many times people don't want help. So I do this for a living. People come to me to say, Hey, I'm struggling through something, please help me to get through it. Great. It's already assumed there's I don't even need to assume they came to me for help. But I can't tell you how many times in my personal life, somebody's struggling through something and I just start to speak into it because I have something I can help them with. And then I have to stop myself and go, I'm so sorry. Do you even want to know this? Do you even want to hear anything about this? And believe it or not? Over the years? There's probably been about half a dozen times where somebody says no, I don't. And it's like, Great, fantastic. Let's talk about something else. Right? Because it's not about me getting them information. If they don't want it. It's not about me trying to help them if they don't want it. So if we can remove that piece and just focus on the times that people actually do want help than what we have to help them see.
And many times I'll use the phrase, you know, if I'm pressing it on something, you know, Brian, here's this area, are you recognizing that you're struggling with, you know, you're losing worth in this section, and it's tied to this piece over here, whatever. When somebody takes that personally, a lot of times what I'll do is I say Okay, help me to understand. Do you feel like I'm trying to hurt you? And what we can tend to get to is somebody going well, no, okay. Do you feel like I'm attacking you? Well, no. Okay. Does this feel like situations where you have been attacked and somebody has been trying to hurt you? Yes, it does. Okay. Can you see the difference? Can you see that this is healthy and that is unhealthy? And see how your responses your amygdala in your limbic system of your brain is responding this Same way, because it's appearing to be the same type of pressure. If I can help somebody to see that, then they can go, Okay, this isn't the same situation. So, when you are there, in that moment, you have to ask yourself, is this person trying to hurt me? Is this person attacking me? Are they legitimately attacking me? Or does this feel like something else I've experienced in my life, the crazy thing is when somebody truly cares, and somebody truly is trying to help you to get through something, the pressure could still feel the same. So you have to walk through this process of gaining quality perspective of going, it's not the same, this is helpful, this is healthy, work through this so I can get to a better place.
So that's if you're working with somebody, you know who's healthy, who's leading you through the process. So what do you do the rest of the time? What do you do when you have somebody who wants to take you down a notch? I, you know, I do this for a living? There are plenty of people from time to time who want to take me down and who feel like Oh, I bet you I could hurt Chris, I bet you I could, you know, take him down a notch or two with some comments. And they're genuinely surprised when they throw out these comments. And I just look at them. And I say, hey, well, you know, What's your intention there? What is? What is your goal with that comment? And then all of a sudden, they realize, Oh, crap, I didn't see that coming. I was expecting him to respond the way I would have responded, which is loss of worth, argue back fight through something because what are they looking for, they're looking for a fight. They're looking for some sort of disunity, they're looking to create a problem a situation, because they've been able to do it in other people's lives, right.
So for me, what I have to do is trying I'm not saying that I'm perfect at this, I'm just it's, it's a heck of a lot easier when I'm in teaching mode, because I'm expecting it. You know, I'm watching it like a movie, I'm seeing it happen. But you can catch me off guard in my personal life and hit me with something and it takes me a few minutes to walk through and go wait a second. What is this person struggling with? Because what though? So I'll go through and say, well, first off, is what they said accurate? You know, if somebody is accusing me or something, or trying to guilt me of something, or whatever, you know, fill in the blank, that I have to go through and go is what they're saying. Accurate? You know, Chris, you're being a jerk right now. Chris, are you being a jerk right now? Did you say something that was, you know, mean, rude. And I'll walk through that process. And if, after walking through it, I believe that that's not accurate. Then instead of going on any attack, instead of going on, you know, taking it personally, which inside I'll take it personally, but I'm having to work through that process in my head of going hold on a second. What is this person struggling with right now? What are they experiencing? Why did I just become their target? You know, what's happening in their lives. And instead of having a, an attack back or having a defensive response, or, you know, really ripping it apart by pointing back on that they are struggling with something, what I'll usually do is just go, Hey, what are you experiencing right now? What are you struggling with right now? What was your intention with a comment, and trying to help that person to see that they are choosing to try and you know, land a punch, do something for some reason. And it really has nothing to do with me, it has to do with some level of worth issue that they are currently struggling with, whether they feel like things aren't going well in their life, whether they're having bad relationships with people, whether they feel like they're trying to prove themselves to me and it's not working. Whatever it is, what I tend to discover is there's some underlying struggle that that person has happening. If I don't take their comment, their opinion, their Barb, personally, then what I can do is actually turn around and try and help. I can coach, I can dig in and try and gain greater perspective. Does it always work?
No, there's sometimes some folks are going to be stubborn. There's sometimes some folks they're intent on, I'm going to control the situation, I'm going to try and make you feel bad because once I do, I'll feel better about myself. I'll feel more powerful, I'll feel whatever. And so in those moments, I'll push I'll push I'll push, you know, try to get them to see good quality perspective. If they can't, I'm done. I'm like, Okay, well, you've gotten what you've wanted. I'm gonna back out of this conversation, because it's not healthy. I'm not going to stay in this conversation. I remember multiple times I've had people come up to me and try and you know, set my reality by pulling things that I've said adjusting it and try and make it fit them. And as they come up, they weave it in this just manipulative conversation of trying to say that I said something that I didn't say. And sometimes when they're highly influential, you can miss it. If they're really good, sometimes it's difficult to see that they've weaved in something you've said and then twisted it, changed it. Next thing, you know, you're agreeing to something that you actually didn't do or didn't say. And so there's times that I'll have to I'll be listening to somebody say something, and I'll be I'm sorry. Could you repeat that? What you know, when you said this over here? Okay, that's not actually what I said. Well, yeah, it is. No, I said, this over here. You're changing that to say this. Well, but I mean, it's the same thing. No, it's actually not. And what I've discovered is, sometimes some folks want to feel so good about themselves, that they will try and twist things that I'm teaching, you know, take a lesson that I'm teaching, they'll try and twist it into something else to align with, what they want to hear is okay. When I push back, push back, push back, well, unfortunately, what happens is, is they will have a tendency to have to fight even harder to where I will put up the healthy boundaries, I'm sorry, if you want to talk through this, if you want to hit you know, accurate stuff, then I would be glad to do that. But for right now, this is an unhealthy conversation. And I'm going to actually step away from it because I don't need to be here anymore. So if you want to change that, if you want to have a healthy conversation, great. But right now, what I'm seeing is you're trying to set my reality to say that I said something that I didn't, so that it fits something that you want. And unfortunately, I just unfortunately for me, I don't want to be part of that. So let me know if you ever want to talk about this in a in a more decent way.
It is amazing to see how people just get shocked and stunned in that moment of I don't know what to say, I don't know where to go. And sometimes they'll just continue on. I'm like, no, no, I'm sorry. I'm literally done with this conversation. I have no desire to continue on with this. If you want to change tone, if you want to recognize the things that you're saying, great. But I'm done. That allows me, you know, I, I'm the teacher, I want to help, I want to help this person to see, you know, what they're struggling with, or what they're struggling through or what they're trying to do. And if I continue, then it goes from being a teacher, to me just wanting to be right. Well, it's a waste of time. So instead, obviously, this person is not learning, they're not getting anything from this. If I continue, then I'm going to start stepping into an unhealthy way. Let me just back out of it. If this person wants to struggle with it, they can they can deal with that if they want to come back to me and talk to me about in a different way they can. But what do most people struggle with? Oh, heck, no, I can't give up this fight. I have to prove that I'm right. I have to be stubborn, I have to be self centered. I have to keep fighting to try and prove my point. And amazingly enough, Brian, I cannot tell you how many conversations I've been in over the years, where the person who's fighting to be right actually knows that they're not right. But they can't let go. They have to keep fighting, they have to keep battling. Those are the times that if you're participating in it, it's a waste of time. What are you doing? You're just fighting to be right as well. And what is that going to get you at the end? Are you going to be like oh my gosh, I so won this conversate? No, there's no winning, right? You can win what you're trying to accomplish. If you're, if you're trying to shut it down? Well, great you want well done, would you when you now just shut down a conversation and you didn't get anything from it, you're still losing worth. So it's important to recognize what is the person going through, you know, if I can get in there, help them to see what they're struggling with, help them to see how they're responding to me, help them to see that this is, you know, fruitless, this isn't something that they really truly want, they want something else, they want to feel better about themselves. They want help with something and if I can help them great. If ultimately I can't, then I have to make sure that I set healthy boundaries. If I don't set healthy boundaries, then eventually I can start taking it personally myself. And then if I'm going to take it personally, myself, I'm probably going to, I'd probably start attacking the pieces that they're being controlling with, right, if I can attack the pieces that they're being controlling with, and that's going to help them to see oh, crap, I can't get anywhere with this. And then that's going to shut it down. And either way, it still didn't accomplish great stuff. It does help them to see that they're doing something. But at the end of the day, now I'm frustrated. They're frustrated, and there's really no good coming from it. I know that was a lot of information, questions, thoughts, comments on any of that?
Brian A 19:48
Now, that's really good. I mean, there's so much in there and a lot of that was you know, from the perspective of a teacher and I'm distilling in my mind as you're as you're talking How does that translate to different situations where we may not have the opportunity to clarify with the person, what they what they mean, although that that can be very helpful in certain context in certain relationships. But it sounds like a lot of what we need to do is we catch our reactions, you mentioned either accepting or rejecting what's being thrown at us. And there's a sense of objectivity where we actually step outside of ourselves or the situation out of that moment to analyze what's going on here. Why am I feeling this way? Why do I want to react to this way? Is that appropriate in this situation? And then we can move to like you're saying to understanding from the indications that we're getting, why are they doing this, and maybe that brings that opportunity, it opens that door to clarify with them, and seek to understand and not just to be, as we've said, for years, not just to be understood by somebody to make our own point, or to be right, to fight, you know, but to understand what's going on with them. And I think we become less egocentric or less self centered, less personal, and more personable and objective in our interactions with others.
Yeah, and I want to push back on one piece on there on the being under, not pushed back, I want to agree with, but before I get to that the big keys here are, if I am taking something personally, I have to ask myself, Why? Why am I taking this personally? Is it because I'm losing worth in the moment? Is it because what this person said I can't handle is it because I feel out of control, which most people when they really take something personally, it's because they feel out of control, which means that they're losing worth. You have to self evaluate as quickly as possible. And I always say what is the red flag inside? Usually it's frustration. It's adrenaline, it's something it's negative self talk, it's the desire to attack, any of those things start to creep up. That is your indicator, hold on a second, gain some quality perspective, why am I struggling? Why am I receiving this personally? Why am I responding the way that I am? You know, why do I want to fight? Why do I want to battle? So if you can catch that inside, first of all, then you can start asking the question, you know, and again, quality, self awareness, did I do something wrong? Maybe I said something stupid. Maybe I said something. You know, I'm maybe I'm not a victim in this situation at all. Maybe I did something that brought on somebody else's response. You know, there's many times I'll say something, and I say it in a way that doesn't come across the way I mean it and somebody responds, and I'll go, I'm so sorry. Let me rephrase that. Let me say this, because I'll catch Oh, the way you said that dummy that came across pretty bad. Because in my mind, it made total sense. But then I see the person receives it as a negative. And I'm like, well, back it up, rephrase. You know, don't allow it to become something bad. rephrase it, see if it lands. Yep, it landed great. So if first off self awareness, did I do something wrong? Second, self awareness, you know, what is happening inside of me that I'm wanting to take it personally respond, battle, do whatever. If I can do those things, and I can get to clarity on what I'm struggling with, then I can start going, this isn't something you need to take personally. Now start caring, what are they struggling with? What's happening with them?
So those are the big keys to get to? The other piece that I wanted to, to kind of push on for people? Is this concept of being understood? Think about just the I want to be understood, what am I what am I saying when I say I want to be understood? I'm saying I'm struggling with something and it's super important that other people understand me. Well, who is that about? That is all about me? The truth is, what if nobody cares to understand my current situation, my feeling my whatever? Right? Instead of seeking to be understood, the more that I will seek to understand the more people will care to understand me. But what we tend to do is we tend to battle to be understood, we tend to battle to be right we tend to battle to not be wrong, and we end up thinking everybody else is messed up and it's not me. It's everybody else's fault. I'm the victim here. Everybody else is mine. villain, one that is totally self centered and selfish, if I will get outside of myself and go, You know what? Quit trying to be understood, go understand people. Because if I want to focus on people understanding me, then I'm all focused on me, which means that I can't be focused on them, which means I'm not caring about what they're experiencing in life or what they're, you know what they're going through in life. All I care about is convincing this person that what I'm experiencing is super important. And that's just a waste of time. So spend time focusing on what do other people experience, what did they need, you know, what are they going through in life. And what you may find is, at some point, somebody cares to find out what you're going through in life as well and cares to understand you as well. So if you want the kind of freedom from feeling people are attacking you, or you know, if you want the freedom from not taking things too personally, if you want the freedom from, you know, not being you know, your moods, your attitudes being affected by something that somebody is saying, or somebody's doing, then start with the self awareness. Start with understanding what your desire is, do you want to be heard? Do you want to be understood? Focus on those things first, and then make a conscious decision to start focusing on other people.
Okay, so as I say that Brian's connection dropped. So as we get to the very wrap of this, that is actually quite funny. I'm taking this so personally, Brian, Alex, I feel slighted right now. So folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Hopefully, this has helped you to make quality decisions and how you approach every situation. And hopefully this helps you to actually save yourself from a lot of personal anguish, a lot of personal struggle and hope. Hopefully this helps you to have a more peaceful life and healthier boundaries. So take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.