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11 Habits That Pull You Out Of The Vicious Spiral Of Taking Things Too Personally

11 Habits That Pull You Out Of The Vicious Spiral Of Taking Things Too Personally

When I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, I cried. It made me realise how tiny and insignificant my existence was compared to the greater scheme of things. Without perspective, we sometimes forget how small we are. We waste our time taking things personal, blowing things out of proportion and making it all about us. Taking things too personally is a slippery slope that can destroy our self-esteem. If you find yourself falling down a vicious spiral of taking things personal, here are 11 tips to pull yourself out.

1. Remember you are the size of a grain of sand.

Your house is in a city, in a state, in a country, on a continent, on Earth, in our solar system, in the Milky Way, in our Universe and so on. Translation, you are but a speck. Keeping our existence into perspective, knowing that our Universe is 13.8 billion years old and we live, on average, for about 70 years reminds us that taking things too personally is a waste of time.

2. Stop, think and respond.

Quite often our communication style is to react; we say or do the first thing that comes to mind. Controlling your response in any given situation allows you to reflect on what’s happening and calmly communicate with the person that might be getting under your skin.

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3. Make “I’m rubber and your glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you” your new mantra.

We’ve all heard this saying before. It means that you don’t really care whether or not a person is speaking ill of you. By letting things roll off of your back, you avoid the stress that comes with taking things too personally. Making it a mantra creates a personal reminder for you and no one else  — we’re here to avoid conflict, not create it.

4. Use Nonviolent Communication.

Nonviolent communication is also known as Compassionate Communication or Collaborative Communication. It was invented by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s and focuses on self-empathy, empathy and honest self-expression. It’s a four-step process based on (1) observation, (2) feeling, (3) need, (4) request.

For example: “Dan, when I (1) see dishes in the sink, I (2) feel irritated because I’m needing (3) the kitchen that we share in common to be clean. (4) Could you please do your dishes?”

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You’re not taking the fact that he hasn’t done the dishes, personally; you’re communicating how you feel without being irrational or demeaning. Find out more at The Centre for Nonviolent Communication.

5. Be okay with being vulnerable.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable by expressing our feelings can help resolve conflicts. When we talk things out and let ourselves be seen, we’re letting the other person know how we feel without taking it personal — much like we did in number 4.

6.  Realise that if someone isn’t saying nice things about you, it’s a reflection of them — and it’s nothing personal.

People who judge others or put other’s down to make themselves feel better have their own self-esteem issues. If someone is being unkind to you, remember that they’re probably behaving this way because of something that’s happened to them in the past of present; which has nothing to do with you.

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7. Learn how to be a passive listener.

Passive listening is when you’re sitting quietly and not responding to what the other person is saying. This relates back to being able to calmly respond to a situation without reacting and putting your foot in your mouth.

8. Learn to love yourself.

Improving self-esteem will allow you to not take things personal. The way we feel about ourselves is a direct reflection of how other’s feel about us. When we don’t speak highly of ourselves, why should someone else?  If you suffer from low self-esteem that’s affecting your daily life, seek out help from a psychologist, therapist or coach.

9. Ask for clarification.

We distort, delete and generalise information based on our personal values and beliefs. Someone might say something to us, and we might make it mean something completely different. By asking for a specific explanation, you’ll be provided with a clearer understanding of what is trying to be said.

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10. Ask for feedback.

There isn’t failure, only feedback, and we need that feedback to grow. After you ask for clarification, ask for feedback on what different strategies or approaches you could use next time.

11. Remember you’re only human.

Further to number 10, we all make mistakes. All we can do is learn from those mistakes and not take that feedback personally, so we can do better next time. When we stop learning and keep making the same mistakes, it’s time to seek help from friends, family, co-workers or mental health professionals.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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