How To Not Think Everyone's An Asshole

I want to admit something to you:

I take things TOO personally.

I'm working on it... but it's difficult because I'm an (overly) emotional person.

When someone does something that affects me, whether intentional or not, I fight the urge to come to conclusions about their motivations.

I've noticed when I take things personally I:

  • Strain my relationships

  • Hold unnecessary resentment

  • Wrongly believe they did it to hurt me

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior." - Stephen Covey

Scientifically, it makes sense.

When we see and hear through our sensory inputs our brain tries to make sense of what's happening through our perception.

Our perception is based on our past experiences, biases, mood, and many other variables.

It starts in the spinal cord when stimuli enters the back of the brain.

As it travels to the frontal lobe, or the "rational" part of your brain, it goes through your limbic system first, shown below.

The limbic system is the emotional part of your brain.

Because we "feel" first, we often tell ourselves stories based on emotion rather than logic.

The problem is, these stories impact the way we see our world, and the way we see other people.

When we take things personally this is often the process:

  1. See & Hear (Sensory Input)

  2. Tell A Story (Perception)

  3. Feel (Emotions)

  4. Act (Action)

The story we tell ourselves in the moment is often WRONG, and if we take action in that moment, we risk damaging our relationships.

Stop Believing Your Own BS Stories

In the video above I discussed on the "UnLearn Show" how I'm trying to combat this issue in my life.

The reality is:

  • People do things based on their own motivations, not to F you over (most of the time)

  • Carrying resentment and baggage from someone else's actions can only hurt you

  • Showing empathy and giving others the benefit of the doubt will improve your relationships

The Method:

When you recognize that you're telling yourself a story, STOP.
 Ask yourself: 

"Why would a completely rational and sane person do that?"

Reframe the story, based on this new perspective: practice empathy and give the person the benefit of the doubt that their intentions were good.

Do you take things too personally?

Reply and let me know!

Jordan CarrollComment