Summary: It's easy to take things personally when someone insults you, ignores you, is rude or treats you poorly in some other way. This study provides practical tools to avoid taking things personally or giving in to self-pity.

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Do Not Take Things Personally

Escape the Trap of Hurt Feelings

(c) 2006, 2014 by Doug Britton, LMFT (Permission granted to print for personal use)

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,
in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

[Love] ... keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Taking things personally often leads to anger or depression

One of the major causes for anger or depression in many people is taking things personally, allowing their feelings to be hurt by others’ word and actions. The following ideas can help you not take things personally—even if the other person means for you to take them personally.

Steps to avoid hurt feelings or taking things personally

If someone says or does something that hurts your feelings:

Consider asking if there is a problem between you and him or her.

Concentrate on loving the other person (1 Peter 1:22). This focus helps you get away from being self-centered or self-conscious.

Realize the other person’'s reaction may reflect pressure in his or her life.

Realize the other person’'s reaction may reflect tiredness or exhaustion.

Realize the other person’'s reaction may be due to him or her concentrating on issues, problems, or plans.

Realize the other person’'s reaction may reflect personality problems. You can lovingly say to yourself, "That’s his (or her) problem."

Realize that you may not see things clearly or may misinterpret something.

Realize that you may have set yourself up to be hurt.

Realize that you may be too sensitive, or that your expectations may be unreasonable.

Realize the other person may like you, but not desire an intimate closeness. Some people may have so many close friends that they can't develop the intimate relationship you would like.

Realize that there are cliques or in-groups that will not accept you because of your social status, clothes, finances or other superficial reasons. This is a sign of their immaturity. Do not take it personally. (Note: You may assume too much. Not all rich people are snobs.)

Realize the other person’s reaction may reflect difficulties or tragedies he or she is facing.

Realize that you may have done or said something to cause the person to react the way he or she did.

Realize that you cannot read other peoples’ minds.

Realize that the nature of friendships may change over time. Interests and needs change, and sometimes friendships change accordingly. For example, when a person has a child, it is common to develop more friendships with others who have children.

Realize that some people, even Christians, won't like you, or that there may be personality conflicts. Still be polite and love them, but do not feel an obligation to win them over.

Realize that everybody is imperfect. If someone is inconsiderate, rude, or insensitive, you can lovingly say to yourself, "That’'s his (or her) problem." There is no need to take it personally, even if it is meant to be taken personally.

Turn to God for affirmation. This experience can help you grow in his Spirit and become more dependent on his love and approval.

More info on not taking things personally

In the bookstore

•  Overcoming Jealousy and Insecurity: Biblical Steps to Living without Fear

•  Victory over Grumpiness, Irritation, and Anger

•  Conquering Depression: A Journey Out of Darkness into God's Life

•  Who Do You Think You Are?

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•  Bible studies on anger, grumpiness, and irritation

•  Bible studies on Christianity and knowing God's love for you

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Bible translation: Unless otherwise indicated, Bible verses are from the New International Version (1984 edition).