`Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind` Dr Suess
When was the last time you were upset about something that someone said?
Developing a thick skin and being immune to negativity can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. One of my favourite books of all time – the four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – dedicates a whole chapter to discussing this subject entitled ‘How not to take things personally.’
He says you are never responsible for the actions of others only those of your own. When people come to you in anger if you can say that this is not about you, you can let the energy go right by you. It works on the premise that I live my life, not your life. What happens outside of you has nothing to do with you. Taking something personally can also be seen as selfish because you are assuming that everything is about you!
There was once a time in my life when I was so bothered about other people’s opinions of me, If someone said a bad word about me, I would get upset and wondered what it was that I had done wrong. I d question why couldn’t everyone like me; I am a good person, I don’t say bad things about people? Then as time went on, as I got older and more experienced. I realised the surprising truth. Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business!
Be proud to stand in your truth – not everyone will like you or like what you have to say. Let’s face it. There is always going to be someone in your life that criticises you. Here is an example of what happened to me when I started posting video content on social media for the first time several years ago. I was nervous. I knew that to progress in my career and build my brand the way I wanted; I had to start posting content and get confident in front of the camera. So, I committed to publishing a daily video series – 40 days of Happiness (the content inspired me to write this blog). I was scared, shy, nervous, and frankly, I felt like an idiot posting daily videos of me talking in front of the camera. But I showed up because I had committed to my audience. On this particular occasion, I was exhausted, and I’d had little sleep. My creative juices were not flowing, and I did not feel like going on camera, but I did because I committed to it. Even though I was passionate about the content, I knew my delivery was flaky, but I accepted that I have to show up, be consistent, and not be perfect.
Anyway – I got a negative comment from a family member (which that person subsequently deleted). Now – I am not writing this so that person feels terrible – because I love them dearly. I am writing this to make a point that often it is those close to you that criticise you and even when a situation seems so personal – it has nothing to do with you. The opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their minds. The truth is these people are dealing with their fears which they transmit onto you. The four agreements say if you take it personally, you assume the poison, and it becomes yours.
SO – I know this is a tough one, but if you learn not to care about what people think, your life WILL be a happier place. Because once we respect other people’s lives and judgements, we find peace with ourselves and with everyone else.