If there is one thing the human mind specializes in, it is making everything that happens to us meaningful. That’s why sometimes there are curious experiences. There are many situations that, if we were to analyze them coldly, we would see that they are neutral and have no transcendence, and yet they make us focus our attention on them and associate them with an emotional charge. On many occasions, we react disproportionately to them, believing that practically everything that happens to us is important and happens because we are there.

Of course, this phenomenon also occurs in our personal relationships. Doubts about the intentions or emotions behind the actions of others, or what they are saying, can cause some people to see an attack in the most ambiguous signs: a gesture, a change in tone of voice, constructive criticism… For them, this article will be of particular interest: how to stop taking things personally? Let’s see it through a series of basic guidelines.

How to Stop Taking Things Personally

Every psychological change involves a transformation of our beliefs and our daily habits. Bearing this in mind, and that in order to improve in certain aspects of the personality it is necessary to make an effort and work constantly, follow the following recommendations to stop taking things personally at the slightest hint of possible attack or conflict .

1. Explain to them your personal evolution project

Not a legally valid contract, of course, but a contract of speech. It’s very simple: you should tell the people you trust the most that you are trying to stop taking things personally so that you don’t get angry or offend them unnecessarily. Just by doing this, you are already modifying your social environment so that it is less tempting to throw in the towel and let yourself be carried away by your old habits.

By following this advice you will manage to create some expectations in yourself and in others, so you will be indirectly enhancing your motivation to move forward and try to take personal relationships with a more constructive attitude .

2. Analyze your type of hostility

When we say that someone takes things personally, we simply mean that he or she adopts a hostile or defensive attitude in situations of ambiguity in which his or her self-image or public image could be compromised by a comment or action of others. This encompasses a certain variety of behaviours that do not necessarily resemble each other.

So it’s good to stop and think about how that hostility comes up in you when you take something very personally. In this regard, you should distinguish between at least three tendencies: aggressive attitude, passive-aggressive attitude and resentful attitude . In the first case we talk about people who are clearly angry and express that feeling of anger, in the second case hostility is manifested in a more subtle way, without directly confronting the other person but treating him or her with contempt, and in the third case hostility is not expressed, but rather the fact that our feelings have been hurt is hidden.

Depending on which of these categories you fall into, you can decide whether your work should focus more or less on preventing hostile escalation against others, or on reinforcing your self-esteem so that you don’t get hurt by a wide variety of social experiences.

3. Detect which situations trigger that emotion

Are there specific situations where you feel you take what is happening personally? Name them. For example, for some this occurs in relation to their professional career, for others these experiences appear only in a family context , or even only with some people. Knowing these things will help you decide whether you should manage only certain personal relationships differently, or whether the problem is in a facet of your personality.

4. Work on your self-esteem

Yes, this task alone entails a whole series of exercises to perform, but it is an indispensable step. The reason for this is that there is always a certain insecurity when someone takes things too personally. In the end, this is a tendency towards catastrophic and somewhat paranoid thoughts , feeding the belief that around us there are hostile forces that can hurt us through the most insignificant details.

For example, one relatively simple thing you can do in this regard is to lead a healthier life and take better care of yourself in general. This will have a positive effect on how you feel, and it will allow you to break away from old vices that made you feel bad and take a more pessimistic view of what’s going on around you.

5. Start from scratch in your relationships with others

Sometimes the hostilities are still there out of sheer inertia. For example, because in the past someone misinterpreted the intentions of the other, a misunderstanding was created that was perceived as a lack of respect, and reconciliation does not come about because both parties refuse to admit their mistakes. Creating a symbolic ending for this stage makes it much easier to rehabilitate those bridges of empathy that will facilitate the breaking down of this tendency towards paranoia.