“Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.” Don Miguel Ruiz
The other day I was working with a client and he commented that the people around town are so rude. He went on to tell me a list of examples why, such as, people don’t smile at him or even say ‘hi’ when he walks by. He concluded that everyone was ignorant and judging him. I explored with him the story he was telling himself about the other people and then asked him why he cared so much about what these people thought about him. After a while, he discussed other times in his life when he felt like he didn’t belong. As mammals, we are social creatures. We have an innate desire to belong and to be accepted. When we feel like we are being outcast it is extremely painful.
All of us have our own filter, through which we interpret the world. Our brains are amazing tools. They take in information and store it. These memories can serve us well, but they also color the way we see the world. There have been studies which show that when we have a history of trauma, even neutral events can become charged with emotion. Our brains become sensitized to pick up on the slightest cue that there is danger. Other people may say that we are overreacting to a situation, but to our brain, which is remembering the past event and working overtime to protect us, it isn’t an overreaction at all.
If you find yourself taking comments personally, here are five tips: