Taking what others say and do personally is a the most egotistical thing you can do.
So here is what I mean. Each of us lives in a bubble. This bubble is due to the fact that we are the sole center of our universe. Literally, things are ahead or behind depending on where we stand. My right is your left when we face each other. And I know what goes on inside of me all the time. On the other hand, I can only guess what goes on behind the scenes of what you say or do. Since my experience is the sole point of reference I have, that’s how I interpret you. As related to me and my experience.
Yet we tend to believe what others tell us about ourselves.
Psychologists call this the illusion of transparency, where we tend to overestimate how well others know us and our innermost motives. Yet, we are all prone to a multitude of biases when interpreting others. The most famous being the fundamental attribution error, which shows we have a tendency to assign others’ behavior to their personality, yet our own to external circumstances.
There is really no bad intention in any of this.
We just simply use ourselves as the reference point for understanding the actions of others. And so do they. When we do that, it creates a sort of parody of real contact with another, in which each of us believes the other person does things solely because of me. It doesn't have to be a bad thing, like a negative comment or a bad review. It can be something nice. Like making you breakfast or taking care of you when you are sick.
When you look at what I did as related to you, you can feel loved and happy or hurt and angry.
The truth is though, what I did is what I did. I did it for many reasons. In fact, only a few of those are related to you. If any. This is the case even when someone tries to tell you they “do this for you”. It's not true. They also do it because they believe it would be good for them in your situation, or because its the “right thing” to do, or to be a good person/partner/parent, or to pay back an imaginary dept for when you did something for them etc.
But does this mean no one really does things because they love me?
Not at all. Others do love you. Well some just love their idea of you. But many do love you for real. Because, fortunately, there is a way to connect with another, truly without the self-centered projection. We are all able to connect like that, and on occasion we do. And that's when we feel most happy and alive and truly heard and loved. We just forget about it from time to time. Here is how to connect to another:
So does it mean I can disregard all negative feedback and nasty comments?
Not really. The thing is this, don't take it personally. What others tell you about you and your work and your deeds, is their interpretation based on their experience and their worldview. It doesn't really speak much truth about your being. About who you really are. It's not personal. But, it can carry an interesting piece of information about what impact you have on others or about how your work compares to their idea of quality. You can use that information for future reference, IF you decide to do something you wish for others to appreciate.
Nevertheless, none of it makes any difference for who you are. Namely, a wonderful human being, who is blessed with a unique gift. You and I are alike like that you know :-)
I hope this one will inspire you. Now I would love to hear from YOU! Do you take things personally? How do you deal with negative comments from others? Share you story and inspire us in the comments below.