Majority of the time how people treat us has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. When people disrespect us, our initial reaction is to take it personally and think “why would they treat me that way?” You begin contemplating what it was that you said or did for them to react in that manner, as if you have any control over someone else’s behavior. Even the slightest change in someone’s tone of voice or actions can send us into a whirlwind of overthinking— especially when it involves the people closest to us.

I’m in the growing phase of figuring out how to get better at not allowing peoples actions to affect me personally. I can be very sensitive at times. I work hard and often tie acknowledgments to my self worth. That characteristic often leaves me in a vulnerable spot when I fail or disappoint myself or others, even though it’s inevitable because no one is perfect. A reminder that I’m working on imprinting into my brain is: the majority of the time the way people react to me has everything to do with themselves and their insecurities, not me. 

Here are some tips to stop taking things personally:

1. Stop trying to please people 

Sorry to break it to you but not everyone will like you. That’s normal. In college was one of the first times when people bluntly showed that they didn’t like me. It was very uncomfortable for me. Before then, I believed everyone either didn’t know me or liked me. That’s definitely not the truth. People will dislike you sometimes because you two just aren’t compatible or they may be envious of us. Accept that you will not be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s normal. When you get to the workplace, you realize that most people are “fake” nice anyway. So play the game, be cordial to everyone without caring if they like you or not, because you like you. 

2. Know your worth 

When you start to realize how amazing you are, you’ll be so full of self love that people’s thoughts of you will lose value. Knowing your worth takes actively working on your self awareness, self-belief and getting comfortable with who you are—flaws and all. 

3. Stop making up scenarios in your head 

Have you ever associated one person’s attitude or look with “they must hate me?” Unless they outright say that, it’s probably not the case. Be aware of people’s actions but also verbally communicate with them. Our perceptions can trick us sometimes while talking it out can solve the issue, if there is one to begin wit

4. Let it go

We all get angry sometimes. Everyone has their triggers. We all have past experiences that will arise in our heads like they just happened yesterday. You know, like that song that reminds you of your ex.  Even though you’ve tried to disassociate it, it just won’t go away. Let it go. None of us are perfect, none of us always get it right even though many of us front like we do. 

5. Be the bigger person

Now I used to love to be a petty queen. Still do sometimes. I’m a work in progress okay! I was raised to treat people how they treat me. I internalized that to mean if someone crosses you, you cross them right back. Otherwise, they will continue to treat you that way. Now that I’m an evolving adult, I’ve realized you shouldn’t fight fire with fire.

6. Take time to process your emotions

When I’m tired or have a lot going on in my personal life, I notice I’m very irritable, ready to snap at any second. My solution for that feeling is usually to be quiet, calm and do some thinking alone. I love to journal. Just the process of getting it all out alleviates my feelings and helps me connect the dots. I also go to therapy bi-weekly which helps me process my emotions out loud. 

7. Everyone is selfish at some point 

Even the kindest people will do some sly stuff for their benefit. It’s human nature to always protect your survival. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. One of personal goals is to get so good at my emotional intelligence that when someone critiques, annoys, or insults me, I’m unfazed because I’m so internally content that nothing affects me personally. Like can you imagine being that mentally strong?! I can.