Day 201: Why do we take things personally?

imagesuuuuuuI have been listening to the Reptilian series on ‘Taking Things Personally’ and I am somewhat perplexed and overwhelmed. As I heard and considered what was being shared, I started to make a list of people  who I think, ‘oh yeah, I can see I take things personally with that person’ but the list just got longer and longer. I start to panic and think, ‘oh shit, I do that with almost everyone, all the time!’

So, ONCE AGAIN, I need to slow myself down, (committed to doing the 21 DAY BREATHING CHALLENGE) go back to the body and back to breath.

I can see that I have lived ‘on guard’/with a guard in my own mind, in fear actually of being attacked/criticized my entire life (from about 3 years on).  This ‘guard’ in my mind really harms/limits my relationship to others and to myself, as it’s sole purpose is to create mistrust. Therefore, I ‘keep my distance’ or keep my interaction at a minimum with this person and that person, so I never have the opportunity to develop a relationship that is mutually supportive or meaningful in an unconditional way, with these certain people.

This guard is forever looking/fishing for a certain look/word/movement, any little thing to take personally from the other person, which I will then jump all over as it is validating what I have already been brewing in my own mind.  ” Aha, I knew it, they don’t like me/criticize or gossip about me to others/that was a slight to me/they meant me/ ok that ‘s enough time with them, they are not good for me. ”

It is interesting, as I choose a person to approach to investigate this point, to see what thoughts/backchat come up in my mind, and was planning to do so last night. It was an AA medallion (alcoholics anonymous celebration of so many years of sobriety) meeting of a woman we both know.  When the formal part of the meeting was over and I looked for her and saw her talking to another person, the thought that came up was, ‘I don’t want to talk to her, it’s always uncomfortable/difficult’ and instead of being aware I beLIEved my own backchat and avoided her! But that was the very point of the exercise, lol, to choose someone whom I don’t feel quite comfortable with/uneasy with/want to limit my time/interaction with.

What is in and behind this thought? Some more thoughts were like, ‘Oh there she is, that other woman she’s talking to I also find difficult. I don’t want to talk to either of them, I’ll just enjoy taking to the people I ‘like'” which means the people I am at ease with=it’s easy because I don’t have to look at myself/my reactions/the people I ‘like’ are not a threat to my own mind.

Why do I believe it is difficult/uncomfortable to talk to her?  Because I assume she looks at me/judges me in a negative light, that she disapproves of my life choices-career and how I spend my time, my AA participation is much less since I have dedicated my spare time to Desteni and I think she judges me as wrong for this, I believe I have to perform for her -be a ‘I’m ok/life is grand’ character, proving to her I am making the right choices and I find this tiring/draining energy, I do not dress the same as her anymore (or for the last few years) as in fashionable clothes, high heels, make up, and hair done and I assume she judges me as wrong/ not ‘one of the winners‘ for this.

About 5 years ago, she was my AA sponsor for a 2 year period.  Although supportive and kind in many ways, she proved to be a gossip and untrustworthy with confidentiality (not that I have anything to hide but at the time-it was several years ago-I did not want her to share some information).  But also there is some old jealousy like, ‘she always looks perfect, why can’t my hair be so gorgeous like that, she thinks she’s hot, she is hot and men think she is hot, men don’t think I am hot anymore, she is calm, why am I still sometimes so scattered, she likes other women more than me, why can’t I be popular like her?’ Lastly, she seems to do the ‘once over’ look at me (like quick up and down, a physical assessment) and I worry I will ‘fail’ her test, like I don’t look good anymore. When we do talk and she asks about my life, I feel like she is looking for something to criticize and then gossip about to another.

Although, this is not someone I want to spend alot of time with, she is a being one and equal to me and I do not know if any of my assumptions are correct or not but that is not the point here. The point is, what is coming up inside of myself-the thoughts/backchats/pictures/memories are unacceptable and not based in reality at all. In reality, she was just standing there talking to another woman and I could have walked over and said hello. As well, in reality when we speak (about once a month at a meeting) she is always pleasant and interested in how I am doing for whatever reasons AND is in no way threatening or harmful and I have no right to judge her in those moments, I need to stick to the physical. 

As well, I can see how I have created a character in my mind of taking every little voice inclination/look/movement of how she plays with her hair, when speaking with me, personally!  Basically a ‘needing to be liked’ character and assuming she doesn’t like me and she is wrong/a bad person for this and I am right/a good person. Therefore, I am unable to have a real/sincere conversation with her (consumed by my own fear and judging her makes me feel better/superior) thus unable to offer any genuine support/assistance to another or establish any meaningful connection/communication with this person.

The Solution to Taking Things Personally in the next Post

An Economist’s Journey To Life:  Q & A Living Income Guaranteed

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