December 9, 2021
“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”
I had lunch with a good friend of mine the other day and we talked about folks we know who seem to have a bitter outlook on life. These people are often insensitive and highly critical of those around them. We both felt that it is difficult to sustain friendships with those who lack empathy and who are quick to blaim others. It seems like society is so polarized these days that some limit their thought to only ideas that fit their view of the world.
I prefer spending time with those who keep an open mind and I feel sorry for those who only see and hear only things that feed their point of view. It is up to us to keep ourselves from letting the nay sayers move us to anger. Here is something offered by Angel Chernoff awhile ago that I think has value.
10 Things to Remember Before You Take Things Personally
The key is in reminding yourself to gracefully deflect the senseless negativity around you. When you sense negativity coming at you, give it a small push back with a thought like, “That remark (or gesture) is not really about me, it’s about you.” Remember that all people have emotional issues they’re dealing with (just like you), and it makes them defiant, rude, and downright thoughtless sometimes. They are doing the best they can, or they’re not even aware of their issues. In any case, you can learn not to interpret their behaviors as personal attacks, and instead see them as non-personal encounters (like a dog barking in the distance, or a bumblebee buzzing by) that you can either respond to gracefully, or not respond to at all.
But again, this doesn’t come naturally—NOT taking things personally is a skill to be honed.
- Calmness is a superpower. The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your mind clear and your heart at peace.
- Even when it seems personal, rarely do people do things because of you, they do things because of them.
- You may not be able control all the things people say and do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
- There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you detach from other people’s beliefs and behaviors. The way people treat you is their problem, how you react is yours. (Marc and I discuss this further in the “Self-Love” chapter of our “1,000 Little Things” book.)
- Oftentimes people do things and say things because they’ve been conditioned to, not because they consciously want to.
- You can’t control how people receive your energy. Whatever someone interprets, or projects onto you, is at least partially an issue or problem that they themselves are dealing with.
- Take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally. Weigh what you hear from others against what you know in your heart to be true.
- If you’re willing to view the behavior of other people as indicative of their relationship with themselves, then you will inevitably take things less personally.
- If you truly wish to improve your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth, stop allowing other people to be responsible for them. Stop allowing other people to dominate your emotions. (Marc and I build powerful self-confidence rituals with our students in the “Love and Relationships” module of Getting Back to Happy and with our private coaching clients.)
- All the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as a baby. And that’s the tragedy of living. So when people are rude, be kind, be mindful, be your best. Give those around you the “break” that you hope the world will give you on your own “bad day” and you will never, ever regret it.
“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions…Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
These four rabbis had a series of theological arguments, and three were always in accord against the fourth. One day, the odd rabbi out, after the usual “3 to 1, majority rules” statement that signified that he had lost again, decided to appeal to a higher authority.
“Oh, God!” he cried. “I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong! Please give me a sign to prove it to them!”
It was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as the rabbi finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It rumbled once and dissolved. “A sign from God! See, I’m right, I knew it!” But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm clouds form on hot days.
So the rabbi prayed again: “Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. So please, God, a bigger sign!” This time four storm clouds appeared, rushed toward each other to form one big cloud, and a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree on a nearby hill.
“I told you I was right!” cried the rabbi, but his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.
The rabbi was getting ready to ask for a VERY big sign, but just as he said, “Oh God…,” the sky turned pitch black, the earth shook, and a deep, booming voice intoned, “HEEEEEEEE’S RIIIIIIIGHT!”
The rabbi put his hands on his hips, turned to the other three, and said, “Well?”
“So,” shrugged one of the other rabbis, “now it’s 3 to 2.”
You can’t have everything, where would you put it?
A psychology student was to help a professor in conducting a personality test. The room was set up with various props in order to move through the assessment quickly. The first person to enter the room started through the test.
“How does this glass of water look to you?”
Person 1: It is half empty.
Student writes ‘pessimist’ in his report.
Person 2 enters the room. “How does this glass of water look to you?”
Person 2: It is half full.
Student writes ‘optimist’ in his report.
Person 3 enters the room. “How does this glass of water look to you?”
Person 3: Looks like you have twice as much glass as you need there.
The student looks totally blank and goes to consult with the professor.
“Oh them!” the professor says, “I forgot to warn you about the engineers! They have no personality.”
The way I see it, if you want to see the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
She said: After directory assistance gave me my boyfriend’s new telephone number, I dialed him — and got a woman.
“Is Mike there?” I asked.
“He’s in the shower,” she responded.
“Please tell him his girlfriend called,” I said and hung up.
When he didn’t return the call, I dialed again. This time a man answered. “This is Mike,” he said.
“You’re not my boyfriend!” I exclaimed.
“I know,” he replied. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell my wife for the past half-hour.”
“The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.”
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