#208- Personalizing And The Fear Of Being Misunderstood

Those of us who are perfectionists, or trying to prove we are good enough, often take the comments and actions of others personally. It may have nothing to do with their intention, but when we feel judged, we internalize, personalize and think everything we do is wrong. We forget people have their own issues, often projecting their fears onto others, but it can be hard to see that when our emotional buttons are pushed. Who gets annoyed when dealing with customer service? Uh, just about everyone, right? We think they’re deliberately trying to ruin our day, so we get angry and self-righteous. Oh yeah, I used to be that person. I don’t react that way anymore.

When you stop to realize it’s not about you, things shift. You don’t know what’s going on with other people; you’re not in their head. Maybe they had a stressful day, or feel guilty for being at work when they have a sick kid at home. Their behavior likely has zero, zip, zilch to do with you. So when you find yourself in a state of reaction to someone (whether it’s a loved one or a stranger), take a breath. Then instead of personalizing, find compassion. This actually isn’t for the benefit of the other person, it’s about doing it for yourself because you’ll feel so much better. We are all flawed humans, and embracing our own flaws helps us more readily accept them in others.


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