There’s this sudden impulse when someone criticises you.
It can happen without criticism, too.
In fact, it can happen even when you’re not even involved.
The sound of it goes something like this:
- “Who does she think she is? She’s not better than me.”
- “I work harder than he does, I don’t know why he’s getting so much credit.”
- “I’m offended because you didn’t treat me how I expected to be treated.”
That, my friends, is the sound of someone taking something personally.
The fact is that this is totally optional.
Once you realize that not everyone is constantly thinking about YOU, it gets easier to let this go.
This little trick is called empathy.
It means thinking about something, even just for a second, from someone else’s point of view.
If you can empathize, even just a little bit, you can start letting go of what seems like a personal attack and hear what the other person is saying.
Maybe it sounds cheesy, but empathy is such a critical skill for building healthy, long-term relationships (platonic, romantic, professional, ad infinitum).
You might be “successful” without it–but that’s your choice.
2 Minute Action
Dig deep: when was a time you felt attacked in the last few days?
Was it a direct stab?
Could this person be going through something you don’t know about?
Could this person lack the social skills to know you were offended?
Could this person have meant it in a genuine and kind way?
Could this whole thing have been, maybe, just a little bit, in your head?
It’s not always 100% one way or the other.
But either way, deciding how you respond (not knee-jerk-react) is up to you.