“I take things too personally” is a remark I hear frequently from my patients, associates, colleagues, and friends. Many people become hypersensitive, defensive, and full of self-doubt because of this problem.
If you fail to get an invitation to lunch, a party, or a wedding, do you take it personally and then doubt yourself and your popularity?
If someone else gets the contract, do you believe you have failed to deliver?
If your boss forgets to say good morning, do you automatically think that he/she is angry with you?
If your spouse comes home crabby, do you feel responsible, guilty, irritated, defensive, or crabby yourself?
If your guests want to go home early, does that immediately suggest they dislike your company?
If your daughter is unhappy, do you start concluding that you have to be unhappy in order to show her how much you care?
If several of your colleagues are going to lunch together and you are not invited, do you worry they will talk about you at lunch?
We can have our whole day ruined because someone else’s behavior rubs off on us and we feel responsible. We find that whenever someone else is upset, we feel great pressure that somehow we are to blame. As a result, we take their behavior personally, which makes us defensive, anxious, miserable, and insecure.
It is important to gain some understanding as to the root of this problem and look at some possible reasons why we become hypersensitive and take things too personally. With this understanding, you will gain some valuable perspective on how to handle the problem more effectively.
Consider these roots of taking things too personally: Read more
How to Deal with People Feeling Sorry for Themselves
When you encounter people who are good at playing the role of professional victim, you will often notice that you routinely get seduced by them because they whine and they want an audience. When people swim around in the pity pot they often want you to feel sorry for them so they can describe the breadth of their terrible situation without any interest in solving it or doing anything about it. They simply want you to pay attention to them while they enjoy the “poor me” and describe the “delicious agony of life.” There seems to be something curiously attractive about being a victim and a martyr… apparently sacrificing yourself does get attention. They will often say things to you like, “You couldn’t possibly understand what I have been through.” Then you can expect them to waste your time while they describe the “poor me” in great detail and they can enjoy their victimhood and contest of who is the most oppressed person. You will want to appear interested and likely conclude that you have enabled them to play victim while you are trying to be nice, empathetic, and appreciative of their plight.
The whining, the criticizing, the condemning, the blaming, the bellyaching, the awfulizing, the complaining, the catastrophizing, the obsessing… all delivered by so many victims and malcontents. Oh my, enough already!
For many decades, the media has routinely delivered the news and it has almost always been bad. Whether you see it, read it, or listen to it… it is 90% BAD NEWS.
Think about your life and how you are living it. For most of us, our lives are filled with some great ups, some painful downs, and a whole boatload of underwhelming vanilla in the middle. We frequently waste a lot of time either watching life go by, or stalling with great intentions to get going real soon.