I used to let little things ruin my day. One bad encounter on the freeway and the car in front of me is either too slow or cuts me off too fast, I get furious and I get intense. Or when a colleague from work who came in through the door and gave me a bad attitude. It was fair to say I was easily bothered, upset, or aggravated.
My stress levels were usually high for someone my age. Working in a hospital area where the patient underwent anesthesia is being operated on the moment doctor calls for a drug. It needs to be fast; it needs to be accurate. My ability to mentally criticize someone in my thoughts was gold medal-worthy. That silent judging phrase comes up to my mind very often. I thought, “Well, how long have you been working here? Why are you being so stupid?”
These negativities drained me. I remember thinking “This needs to stop! I am not an angry person by nature. My work is changing me.” So, I decided to work at it. I read books, listened to podcasts, and consumed a lot of other personal growth products that I thought would help. I made some major improvements but soon I realized I was only doing everything I needed to fix on the inside from the outside.
Having a degree and certifications didn’t get me more success and happiness. But instead, I began to see that the part that ruined my day had nothing to do with others. It had everything to do with myself. How do you not take anything personally? Every one of us is so uniquely different sets of values. Through my journey of discovery and meeting myself from the inside, here are a few things I found work really well:
This is the first thing I learned to do.
Instead of writing a script in my head, I began by asking “what am I feeling?” when something happened that bothers me. Was I upset? Defensive? Hurt? Annoyed?
Whatever it is, I knew the first step to let go of what’s bothering me is by figuring out what bothers me.
Ask yourself “why am I having this feeling?”
Many time we get upset or bothered by something is just a surface reason. Once you’ve identified what is bothering, then you can ask yourself why is it bothering you. And a deeper question is “What is actually bothering you?” Going through these empowering questions can help to get to the bottom of the issue.
Take a step back and reframe yourself. Ask yourself how true is your current belief around a given situation? Sometimes we are so bothered by the situation because it feeds into one of the lies we believe about ourselves. And once we discover that, suddenly, the issue isn’t really there anymore.
There are always two sides to the story: even the one you had written for in your head. The truth is, there could be any number of reason why someone would upset you. Not everything happens to you but around you. Nothing personal about it.
Over the years, I’ve found that becoming more confident in myself, has really helped me not take things personally. It allowed me to say “You may be upset, but I am confident in who I am. Nothing you say or do, is going to get to me because it has zero effect on my self-worth.”
Recently, I was given an annual evaluation by my manager. He pointed out the entire year of what I did wrong rather than pointing out the areas I can improve. In the past, I would probably have walked out of his office feeling upset, offended or even defensive.
By tapping into my confidence, I can now listen and sit through the entire evaluation while he points finger at me and not feel emotionally angry. I feel confident in the fact that I was doing my job to the best of my ability. I also feel confident in the fact that I wouldn’t have done something to purposefully disrespect anybody I work with. I feel confident in the fact that if I had to go back and do it again, I wouldn’t do anything differently.
Bottom line, tap into your self-confidence and you will begin to see how much fewer things bother you. You’ll learn how to not let things bother you. How to let the small things go and how not to take things personally.
Anytime we stay upset and allow ourselves to be worked up over something someone else did, then we’ve put our emotions in jail and given them the key.
It is a powerful realization. When we allow others to make us angry over stupid things, we are letting taking our power. The truth is, as long as I’m just being myself and not out to purposefully get someone, I can’t control how they feel. If someone else gets upset with you for something unintentional, instead of being offended or rushing to fix it, realize that it was their problem, Take your power back!
I hope you leave here with a few tips you can take them to practice next time something happens that bothers you but you wish didn’t. Be patient, keep at it and you can always schedule a session with me to discover your values and trigger buttons. Having a better understanding of what your triggers are may also help to keep your emotions at rest and not let the little things bother you.