The perks of not taking things so personally

By: Miranda Mowrey, Columnist

At some point, all of us have been told “don’t take it personally.” The manner and environment in which we receive what seems to be snooty and frankly, useless advice may look different for each individual. Whether you are staring at the bottom of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, or on 695 West, trying to stay calm after being cut off by a driver who was texting, it is really hard to see the truth in the ancient dogma: “Don’t take it personally.”

 That is because it is easier to take things personally than admit that not everything is about us in the first place. Because we are always on the receiving end of the good, the bad, and everything in between, it seems logical to conclude that what happens to us is intentional in nature.

 “Are you serious right now? Bridget bought the same pair of shoes that I was wearing last week?!” you think to yourself as you scoff at her new Instagram post. “God, stalker alert. I knew she has always been jealous of me.”

 News flash, I don’t think Bridget put a molecule of thought into how you, along with the rest of the world, owns a pair of white, three-striped Adidas as she was adding them to her online shopping cart. Take a chill pill and don’t take everything so personally.

 It is a hard pill to swallow, but it is a necessary dosage everyone needs to take daily: people don’t think about you as much as you think that they do. No, it is not because they are nasty or selfish, but it is the simple fact that everyone has their own struggles and battles they face daily. Sometimes concern for another person’s wellbeing gets nixed in the process of prioritizing what to care about. And the ugly aftermath of this is your feelings sometimes get hurt and you get angry; and maybe you start to plan all these ways you can somehow sneak into your ex’s apartment and hide an egg deep in his couch that’s stained with a mix of Natural Light and Cheetos dust.

 Even though it seems like something that should’ve sunk in in elementary school, every day we need to remind ourselves that the world does not revolve around us. In a way, it is freeing to embrace this concept. Not taking things personally allows unnecessary anger and pain to subside so that you can begin your healing process.

 This approach works when bad things happen, like your best friend forgets to call you on your birthday or your sister stained your favorite baggy sweatshirt, but it is also an important concept to remember when good things happen too.

 Yes, it is fun to infer that the only reason your crush posted the new “The Strokes” song on his story is because he knows just how much you love them. You take this post personally and start running with it – Oh my God, he loves me! Maybe this could be our wedding song? Wait, who will be my maid of honor? – wake up sister, stop fantasizing, and embrace yet another chilling reality. Chances are, Chad or Kyle or whatever-his-name-is heard it on the FIFA soundtrack as he entered his sixth hour of playing video games, not seeing sunlight or his family for days.

 It is perfectly okay to have feelings about things that happen to you, whether they are intentional or not. But, I promise you will be a lot more at peace if you learn to take a deep breath and step back from the situation, and try to think of ways not to take what has happened so personally. The only exception to this rule is if someone ate your leftovers that were clearly marked yours. Then, all bets are off, and it means war.



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