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Do You Take Things Personally?

It Happened One Day

At my parent’s house for the holidays a few years back, my mother, my sister and I were in the great room discussing which film to see that evening. It just so happened that we finished our conversation just as my brother walked in to the room. He reacted immediately with, “You were talking about me, weren’t you? Is there something wrong with me?” Wow. I was shocked. Is that all he could come up with in that moment based on the situation? This was a highly limiting, personal point of view that had nothing to do with reality or truth. Where was this reaction coming from, I wondered?

It was loud and clear that my brother felt pretty bad about himself, so much so that almost any scenario triggered that fear in him. It is a fear most of us carry—not being good enough. Not only could you hear the fear in his words, you could see it in his body language and you could feel it in the energy he was giving off. I realized he must be carrying this stressful, incorrect evaluation about himself around with him all day, every day, forcing situations to apply to this incorrect belief for the sole purpose of validating the belief—not because it was true.

Later that evening, I pondered what had happened in the great room. I took a good look at what seemed to be a recurring habit my brother had as he repeated it two more times that day, but for different reasons. The triggers were different, but the outcome was the same each time. I looked at my own reactions and found the same patterns being repeated. The triggers weren’t the exact same as my brother’s but, the outcome was—every time. I had to look deeper.

My brother and I, like most of us, have been set up to react in this way. The set-up, as I call it, serves one purpose and one purpose alone—to keep us distracted with the belief that we are not good enough. What are we being kept distracted from? The truth about who we are. More on that in a moment.

Self-Reflection Perception

The set-up works like this: we are taught to believe we are inadequate, unworthy and unlovable through various styles of programming. This begins the moment we are born as limiting labels, preconceived roles and unmet conditions are applied to us, without our consent. As we grow up, these labels, roles and conditions become our beliefs about ourselves.  We act as if these beliefs are the truth—they aren’t.

We apply these beliefs to everyday life situations, which automatically distorts the situation. It doesn’t matter what the situation is—people talking, people not talking, something happening to us, something not happening to us. The problem is, these beliefs continually need validated, as does anything that isn’t true, and it will use anyone or anything to get that job done. Taking things personally is one way to do that.

This tactic means we are shoving square pegs into round holes forcing daily events that have nothing to do with us to validate our incorrect programming. The people and situations we blame for making us feel bad don’t have anything to do with us feeling bad. We feel bad because we believe we are not good enough. Unaware of the true source of our unhappiness, we search for the reason, or reasons, for our unhappiness separate from ourselves, believing it is because of a person or a situation. But we are merely projecting our pain outwardly because we don’t know that the pain comes from the inside—from the programmed mind.

By projecting our inadequacy beliefs about ourselves onto others and situations—what I call self-reflection perception—two things happen: 1) we never see anything as it truly is and 2) we continually suffer. It’s time for a change. It’s time for the truth.

No Cause and Effect

Newton’s second law of motion states that if a net force acts on an object, it will cause an acceleration of that object. This is the law of cause and effect. But the cause and effect theory is incorrect. Don’t let the word law fool you for a second. Calling it a law doesn’t make it the truth.

The truth is, there is no cause and effect. We just believe there is. But what if we no longer believe in cause and effect? What happens in our lives then? For one thing, blaming others for our unhappiness or situation becomes impossible. So is blaming ourselves for anything. If no one caused our unhappiness, including us, we can begin to ask ourselves, “What is the true cause of our unhappiness?” It is in the questioning that we will see it is our belief that we are not good enough that is the ultimate culprit. Now we are getting somewhere. Healing is beginning.

If we dig down to see where we derived this belief of lack and inadequacy, we will realize this is not a belief we were born with—it was taught to us. As such, anything learned can be unlearned. Why would our society teach us we are not good enough? It keeps us distracted from knowing the truth about ourselves—that we are good enough and we always have been. Believing we are less than we are is a position of weakness. Knowing who we are is complete power. No more distractions!

From Powerless to Powerful

Taking things personally has nothing to do with logic, reality or truth. This might be hard for us to fathom sometimes since we are heavily trained to rely on the outside world for just about everything, from feeling love to gaining confidence and feeling good enough. We have also been trained to use the outside world as a barometer of how well we are doing in life. This training leads us to believe we are powerless against what is said and done to us.

In my book, Mood, Food and Gratitude: Healing from the Way We Think, there is an essay called We Push Our Own Buttons. This is where we apply situations to our beliefs of inadequacy and then react. We believe the other person caused us to react, but the truth is, our beliefs about ourselves caused us to react. We push our own buttons. Contrary to popular belief, no one else can do this to us. Knowing the truth starts the healing process.

Blaming other people and situations for our unhappiness keeps us in the dark about who we truly are and how we truly are. There is nothing wrong is any of us. We are all good enough. We always have been. Becoming aware of the tactics the mind creates to keep us believing we are not good enough is how the lie unravels. No longer believing in this lie means we finally see things as they truly are—we experience the world through reality. This is where love is.

Stop blaming other people and the world for your unhappiness. Don’t blame yourself either. When blame is not an option, the mind-created self and the lie that is its foundation begin to crumble. It is time.

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