How to stop taking things personally

Do any of these sound familiar?

“This person interrupted me in a meeting and I snapped at them in front of everyone. I feel like an idiot.

“This person interrupted me in a meeting and I got quiet. I let them take over the meeting. I feel like I failed.

“I was 5 minutes into my presentation and this person asked me an irrelevant question. I spent the rest of my time defending stuff related to the question and didn’t have time to present the stuff that matters, that I was there to present. I’m so mad at myself.

“One of the Directors said in front of everyone that I talk too much and need to get to the point. I could barely respond I was so embarrassed.

“I disagreed with the plan of action in a meeting and my boss told me I had to apologize to the VP. I felt like a 2nd grader being scolded.

These things happen all the time. But how you respond to them differs widely. Some of us hold onto the hurt, the embarrassment, the feeling like an idiot. And others seem to easily be able to let it go and move on.

To get ahead AND get along, you need to be able to stop thinking about it, to quit taking things personally.

When you stop taking things personally,

1) you stop wasting time mulling things over and over in your head, rewinding and stopping the tape at the moment when you could have said something different.

2) you’re able to focus on the end goals and not the little bumps along the road.

When you take things too personally, it KILLS dialogue, which often involves disagreeing with other people.

To be effective, you must be able to voice your opinion, even when it differs from what other people think.

And it works the other way, too. When people disagree with you, you must be able to take it in without taking it personally.

OK, so how can I do it? 

Not taking things personally starts in your head, by stopping that self-sabotaging dialogue with your inner critic who rears his ugly head and screams, “That was so stupid! Why did you say that?!”

Turn those negative self-talk tapes into positives by using the “or maybe” trick.

It sounds like this: 

“This person interrupted me in a meeting and I yelled at them in front of everyone. I feel like an idiot….or maybe he interrupts everyone and it has nothing to do with ME.”

“This person interrupted me in a meeting and I got quiet. I let them take over the meeting. I feel like I failed….or maybe I can learn from this and create a plan for the next time this happens.”

“I was 5 minutes into my presentation and this person asked me an irrelevant question. I spent the rest of my time defending stuff related to the question and didn’t have time to present the stuff that matters, that I was there to present. I’m so mad at myself….or maybe he was curious and wanted to know more and it has nothing to do with ME.”

Want to read more about this? Download my eBook, “Never Cry At Work Again! How to stay cool, calm and collected in every negotiation”

“One of the Directors said in front of everyone that I talk too much and need to get to the point. I could barely respond I was so embarrassed…or maybe he was trying to make himself look better or smarter and it has nothing to do with ME.”

AND….in a case like this, ask yourself if it’s true.

Are you talking too much?

If so, consider it a gift of feedback even if it was delivered poorly and learn to be more succinct. If you ever use, “As I said before” or “Like I mentioned” or any words that make you repetitive, stop doing that.

“I disagreed with the plan of action in a meeting and my boss told me I had to apologize to the VP. I felt like a 2nd grader being scolded…or maybe he feels like his job is at stake and it has nothing to do with ME.”

Get curious, which you really cannot do until you’ve distanced yourself from what you think is a personal attack.

Ask some questions, “Help me understand how to be more effective next time. What about my statements in the meeting made it necessary to apologize?”

You want to find out if you were being rude or disrespectful.

Want to read more about this? Check out this post on how to Replace “be convincing” with “be curious.”

The Bottom Line 

Using the “or maybe” trick is one way to break the punishing cycle of negative self-talk.

The next step is to try this short breathing meditation that simply interrupts the cycle.

After you use “or maybe,” try this:

  • Sit still in your chair, feet planted firmly on the floor.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breath in through your nose to the count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for the count of 7.
  • Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8.
  • Do this five times.

Try it out and let me know how it goes!

Warmly,

Melissa

 

Let’s connect!

Live it, learn it and love it! Share this to make our tribe thrive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *