Would you believe me if I told you that nothing’s personal? Even if or when someone is trying to offend you, it’s really about them?

In this episode, I’m teaching you how to take your power back and stop taking things personally because you know what?  Life is short and learning the skills to not sweat the small stuff will exponentially increase your capacity for peace and happiness.

If you find yourself easily offended or endlessly ruminating over why someone said or did something, this episode is for you.

In this post and THIS VIDEO I’m giving you 6 simple steps you can take to understand why you might take things personally… and how to get empowered to stop!



In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz, world-renowned spiritual teacher, and author, writes: 

 “Don’t take anything personally.”

So what does that mean? It means that everyone is in their own experience:

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Easier said than done, I know. But if we can learn how to come from a place within us where what’s happening externally isn’t internalized, it puts you in a position of power and higher emotional functioning. 

It’s important for you to understand why you might be taking things too personally because it can have a negative impact on your relationships, your career and your internal world. Taking everything to heart is a dysfunctional way of reacting to the people in your life.

So here are some practical strategies you can use to start to filter your experiences and raise your awareness about your reactivity:

1. Check the Source.

When you find yourself taking something personally, stop and ask yourself: who is it coming from? Is it your partner or is it the mailman? There should be a healthy hierarchy of whose opinions and actions you care about…and whose you don’t. We can’t have all the people in the world holding the same level of importance in our life. So remember to check the source the next time a total stranger flips you off in traffic. It’s not you. It’s them.

2. Are You Sure You’re Not Projecting?

Projecting has become something of a buzz word in the self-help and wellness space, but it was first theorized by Freud and then expanded upon by Anna Freud. It’s a psychological defense mechanism, as in, a way our minds protect us from pain or discomfort.

Projection happens when we disavow feelings that are uncomfortable or out of alignment with how we see ourselves and we reassign those feelings to someone else. I give real life examples of what this looks like in the video above, so be sure to watch it here or listen to it here.

Sometimes, when we get offended or take something personally, it’s possible that we’re projecting our feelings about that person onto them.

3. What meaning are you assigning to the situation?

We are wired to make meaning. It’s part of the human experience. That said, it is so essential to be aware of when we’re making something mean something it might not or making up stories or scripts to fill-in-the-blanks of why someone did or said something when in reality, we don’t really know!

Quick example:
Someone’s short with you at work. It hurts your feelings and now you start thinking… oh man, I said something stupid in that meeting yesterday and now they think I’m an idiot and don’t want to be seen talking to me. WOW. See what I mean? It can be a slippery slope of negativity and bad feelings.

4. Don’t assume you know what’s going on…you know what they say about making assumptions, right?

This one goes hand in hand with #3. This is about being mindful and staying on your side of the street. It’s about not assuming you know the personal motivations of others…because, truly, unless you ASK, you don’t!

Remember, reality is ALWAYS subjective. Have you ever heard that saying: there are three sides to every story…yours, mine and the truth?

If you are feeling hurt, offended or pissed about something, first check the source (See #1). Is it someone in your VIP section? If it is, be straightforward and ask, “I sense something is wrong. Can we make time to talk and clear the air?”

5. Repeat offense? Dig deeper.

If you have a repeated situation where you take things personally from one particular person in your life, it might be time to explore this a bit more. Sometimes, when we take a step back and examine our responses, we can recognize that they are hotter or more tender than they should be given the person or the current circumstance.

This could be an indicator that we’re having an emotional transference and that our response in the current moment is actually a response to an unresolved or painful experience from the past. In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m sharing a tool to help you uncover the original injury, so make sure to grab that right here, right now.

6. Don’t give away your power!

What is really happening when you take things personally on the regular? You’re basically giving virtual strangers power over how you feel so it’s vital to be discerning.

I hope this inspired you because you know what?

You are not that fragile and being reactive instead of mindfully responsive is not in your highest or best interest. You have the power to prioritize your own reality and learning how to not take things personally is such an essential piece of this! 

I want to know how this resonated with you and what you think so please, keep your comments coming! I read them all and I am super interested in what is on your mind and in your heart. I want you to get what you want in life, happiness, peace, abundance, health, love…all of the things! So keep talking to me and I will keep talking to you.

If this added value to your life, please share it! You are IT for me, I so appreciate you and as always, take care of you.

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.