I have often thought in life that the greatest way to move forward is to learn and grow from every experience. Some experiences are more difficult to move past than others. It is easy to move beyond someone keying your car. Most of the time it is done by an unknown person and also, our personal property changes all the time. But let’s look at a divorce. That is something that is very personal for everyone involved and it is drastically different than someone keying your car. A good friend once told me that a wound with only a scab can never truly heal until the scab becomes a scar. When we constantly relive the past we are repeatedly tearing off the scab and never letting the wound truly heal. There are also times when the scab needs to be removed to properly clean and prepare the wound for healing.
How do we know when to clean our wound or leave it to heal?
For me, I think it came down to how the offense is remembered and reflected through my actions and subconscious mind. Taking things as a personal attack, when in fact it was never directed at me, has always been a way for me to see that I had not yet healed from the older wound and more cleaning is needed. Let’s take a look at a divorce again. A divorce is a deep wound and without proper cleaning it shows up in future relationships of all kinds. It can show up in a friendship or a new romantic interest. In both cases we can be overly sensitive to anything resembling our past hurt. Our new relationship can have trigger words, sounds, or actions. For example, a previous spouse was always late to important events. The first time a new partner is late to something, we automatically cast our past relationship’s hurts onto the new person. In our minds, we don’t want to go through the hurt again and this new person must be just like our previous spouse. We now see them as our former spouse. This would be a wound that would need more cleaning and preparation for healing.
There were many times that I would see conflict rising on the horizon and more times than not, it was my past hurts that seemed to resurface. I was quick to judge but I never judged well. I avoided seeing things as they were; I only saw them how I wanted to see them. These “snap judgments” warned me, “danger, danger, it’s about to happen again!”
I have learned that understanding and healing from my past helps me to clean the wound in order to learn and grow. Many things in life come down to trust, expectation, and emotional intelligence. Two things that can challenge growth will be the people you come into contact with every day and picking yourself up as you fall. You must have trust, healthy expectations, and emotional intelligence in all of these areas. Establishing this understanding will help you in your healing process. All of these factors played a part in finally becoming aware of taking things incredibly personally. As my emotional intelligence grew, I began to see conflict regarding others much clearer.
I am the first to say that I am still a work in progress but I am confidant that I am not where I was, and am even more excited of the future opportunity to grow in this area of my life. I realize that this was a long introduction, but I wanted to properly share my struggle in hopes that maybe my struggle will help you overcome yours.
Here is my question that I challenge you to ask yourself, just as I am asking it of myself as I type again. The more energy we spend assuming, the more energy we waste. Wasted energy prevents us from getting to a healthy place of contentment and peace.
“Why do I take things so personally?”
For me I finally realized a few key factors and I was also able to trace them to a root trigger, but before I share these factors, please let me share three categories that impacted me the most.
My expectations: I have learned that proper expectations set up not only future credibility but also future outcomes. It seems that every expectation produces either a desirable outcome or an unfortunate heartbreak. For example, my wife and I have a great relationship, but at the same time she knows each day my feet hit the floor, I am called to help and inspire people like yourself. At the same time, I am called to be a considerate and accountable husband. So, how do we set up a expectation together that leads us towards a desired outcome? If we don’t communicate, then we both end up with frustration and heartbreak. But if we make the plan together, we both become more flexible as time moves forward. This communication helps both of us not to take things personally if expectations are not met.
My relationships: This area is one of the most difficult. In order not to have broken areas of trust, accountability and expectation, it requires a great deal of work. I have learned that everyone has their own reason, agenda, or belief system that moves their relationships either forward or back. At the root of many of these areas I find that shared vision is very important. Many times, relationships start out heading in a direction of unity but end up in division. The root cause of this is something as simple as the agenda or expectation that moves people either toward the vision or away from it.
We may have a partner in business or a team or family member that we start out with on a aligned vision, only to find out that as things progress, insecurities are raised. The raised insecurities actually feed fear and falsehood into the relationship causing a wedge and division. I have learned that the more our appreciation, inspiration, and recognition are attacked, the more we question the relationship and actually build fear into it. The only way I have been able to defeat these thoughts and adversities is to give up the need for recognition and instead, offer appreciation to others as a gift, whether they are aware of it or not.
I think we will all face a point in time where the need for recognition is so important that any time we don’t get it, we feel personally attacked and devalued. As we mature, we begin to understand that our need for recognition comes from a deeper place of not being recognized earlier in life or from an internal low self-esteem.
Many of us will spend all of our lives chasing the recognition of this world only to find out in the end that it never truly mattered anyway.
My Lack of Knowledge: Assuming things in life can be incredibly dangerous for relationships and it is extremely important to have quality discernment. When I don’t have a complete understanding of myself or the situation at hand, I loose site of reality and only operate in a fictitious mindset. Fiction harms our faith, forgiveness and fruitfulness. We should always seek to gain as much true insight or information about a person, event, or situation before placing a judgment. While insight is important, it is even more valuable to do something each day to increase personal knowledge and wisdom. When we seek truth, we find it; When we seek wisdom, we acquire it; When we seek healing, it occurs.
We can actually remove more anxiety from our lives by seeking to sharpen our tools to help us not take things so personally. It is not easy, but it is one step closer to forgiveness and peace, and it is worth it! The peace I often walk in now is far greater than the struggle I have had to overcome.
As always, I enjoy our time together, and I always welcome your comments as I seek to add valuable content to your journey. Please feel free to let me know how I can serve you better.
In Your Service,