We tend to take things personally. By default. Because it always feels like being about us.
Guess what: it is not true! More often than not, it is not about you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own beliefs, their situation and feelings.
On your side, on most occasions when you get upset, hurt, or angry, it has nothing to do with the other person either. It happens when something in you gets triggered. That something is generally an old wound or idea about yourself that is painful, and it feels like hitting the sore.
When you are with a group of friends and everybody gets asked what they want to drink except for you, it is likely that you feel rejected or at least a bit embarrassed. Chances are high though that your host was distracted or overwhelmed with having so many people over, and forgot. Nothing to do with you and yet, we cannot avoid that little sting on the inside.
We are particularly sensitive when beliefs or old wounds are triggered. I am and always was very small in comparison to others. As a result I felt I had to prove myself as a kid. When I became a young adult I often got treated like a child, as people thought I was much younger. This created a belief that I am not being taken seriously. It was painful. Today, whenever a situation arises where there is the slightest chance of me feeling not taken seriously, emotions will rise in a milli-second. I will take it personally and chances are high that I go into defense or even attack, or that I withdraw and feel pity for myself.
Each time it happens, the result is more pain. Being aware that this is an “old” thing helps to decouple it from the present situation. And to not take it personally.
“Don’t Take Anything Personally. 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” – Don Miguel Ruiz