When Should You Take It Personally?

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We hear so often, “Don’t take it personally.” What does this really mean? The answer is NOT simple!

Let’s say that you are in a great mood, feeling loving and expansive, and someone – either someone close to you or a stranger like a clerk in a store – is withdrawn or attacking.

This is when it is important to not take it personally. Their behavior is coming from whatever is going on for them – they are tired, not feeling well, feeling inadequate, angry from a previous interaction, judging themselves, coming from their own fears of rejection or engulfment, and so on. When you take their behavior personally, it is because you want to believe that you have some control over their behavior. You want to believe that if only you were different, they wouldn’t treat you badly. This is a huge false belief, as you have no control over what is going on with them, and their behavior has nothing to do with you.

On the other hand, let’s say that you are in your ego wounded self, and you are shut down, harsh, attacking, blaming, or people-pleasing. When this is the case, if others are also shut down or attacking, their behavior might be personal to a certain extent. They might be taking your behavior personally and reacting to it from their own ego wounded self. While you are not causing them to react with withdrawal or attack – it is the fact that they are taking your behavior personally that is causing them to react – you are also not innocent in the interaction. So it is always important to notice your own open or closed energy to see whether their behavior is not at all about you, or whether they are being reactive with you.

Another scenario to be aware of is: if you are open and loving and another is closed and harsh, their behavior DOES affect you. Even if you do not take their behavior personally, their unloving behavior can cause some deeper core feelings of loneliness, helplessness, heartache, heartbreak, and sadness. Taking their behavior personally may be a way to cover over these deeper painful feelings, because when you tell yourself that their behavior is your fault, then you might feel anxious, depressed, guilty, or shamed. As bad as these feelings feel, they are actually easier to feel because you are the one causing them by taking their behavior personally.

Likewise, if you are the withdrawn or harsh one, and a person close to you is not taking your behavior personally and are feeling their own core painful feelings caused by your unloving behavior, they may choose not to be with you. They might not want to be with you when you are withdrawn or attacking. In this case, it is important that you DO take their behavior personally and explore what you are doing that is resulting in exactly what you likely don’t want – their moving away from you.

The bottom line is that if you are being open and loving, then it is important to never take another’s behavior personally. If you are operating from your wounded self and are withdrawn or attacking, then you might want to explore your own behavior when others are also withdrawn, attacking, or when they disengage from you because they don’t want to be around you. Your open and loving behavior is NEVER the cause of another’s unloving behavior. Your closed, withdrawn or harsh behavior is also not the cause of their closed, withdrawn or harsh behavior, but can be the cause of them not wanting to be with you, and it is important to open to learning about your own withdrawn or harsh behavior.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to discover real love and intimacy? Click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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