We play this game with my little boy where he asks for pieces of opposite puzzles (i.e. in or out, up or down, etc) and we give them to him. He first asked for the “thin rabbit” and then instead of asking for the “fat rabbit”, he asked for “Papa Rabbit”. I thought it was hilarious and proceeded to tell my husband over fits of giggles. The next time we played, he asked for “Mummy Rabbit” and all of a sudden it wasn’t funny anymore ☺
I’m going to take two examples, so see which one resonates with you:
- We tell our entrepreneur friends not to worry when people unsubscribe for their newsletter as it’s not personal, it’s just not a match at the moment, etc and we know this rationally but when it happens to us, it feels like someone has stabbed us.
- We tell our employed friends who have been made redundant that it’s not personal and the company had to cut headcount from somewhere but when it happens to us, it’s the end of the world.
We often don’t feel something until it happens to us. So why do we tell others it’s not personal?
It’s often meant well, providing them with a good reason so they can feel better but it’s often said with some distance. In addition, we can empathize with the person and say “I see that you are feeling upset by this” and acknowledge their feelings.
Being on the receiving end of the situation, if you are taking it personally, then it clearly touches a nerve. It takes some study and awareness to identify what it is, then you can slowly let it go.
So in the first example, there’s a part of me that just doesn’t want to be thought of as fat even if my little boy didn’t mean it like. It actually doesn’t matter really what he meant, it’s how my husband and I took it.
As for the other examples, there may be a part of us that feels we are not good enough, which is why someone unsubscribed or why we were let go from the company. When we start addressing this and know that we are enough and believe in ourselves, we will know that it’s not personal.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think about this topic?