Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's NOT Personal

Is It Really Personal?

In my last article, “The Art of Saying No”, I talked about how difficult it is to say, “NO” to people so we say, “YES” when we really want to say, “NO”. In this article, I will talk about the number one reason why it is so hard to say, “NO”. The number one reason is because it’s hard for most people to hear, “NO”. If you don’t like to hear it, you are not going to want to say it! Why is it so hard to hear, “NO”? I think it is largely because we take it personally. We think they are saying much more with their, “NO”, than they really are. We feel personally rejected. The truth is that “NO” is just “NO”. It’s not, “NO and you’re not good enough.” It’s not, “NO and I don’t like you.” It’s not “NO, never.” It’s just, “NO” to the current request. “NO, it’s not a fit for me at this time.” “No, but feel free to ask me again at another time or down the road.” It’s not personal! It’s not about you! And when you say, “NO”, it’s not personal, and it’s not about them. “NO” is about the person who says it, not the person who receives the “NO”. Even if the person doesn’t like you, it’s not about you! Wow, what freedom that gave me when I realized that.

Let’s talk about some other ways that we make things personal when they are not personal. Are you one of those people who goes to a party or gathering and maybe there are 50 people with whom you had really good interactions but you will focus on that one person who wasn’t so “warm and fuzzy”. Maybe that person didn’t say, “Hello”. Or maybe they gave you some look that you decided to interpret as negative in some way. Whatever did or didn’t happen, you decided to focus on that one person because you felt that they didn’t like you or were somehow slighting you. The truth is that unless you actually asked the person what they were thinking or feeling about you, you have no idea what was going on.

I have a policy which is that I don’t participate in “third party communication”. In other words, until someone actually says the words to my face, I don’t make assumptions about how they feel about me. Third party communication is communication that comes to me indirectly, not from the actual messenger. Making assumptions about how someone thinks about me without knowing for sure is in truth third party communication because it is indirect, it is an assumption. It’s really not that much different from gossip in the sense that you are participating in third party communication and you don’t know if it’s true or not and it can be as destructive as gossip.

One challenge in relationships that I hear often has to do with taking things personally. When two people are in a relationship, married or not, romantic or not, they must be able to be honest without the other person taking it personally. If you are the person who takes it personally, or if you know someone who does, I would like to offer you some tools to begin to change your body/mind.

Click here

I would love to know what your favorite technique for not taking things personally is.

Diana Morgan, M.A., H.H.E., Minister
PO Box 553, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
707-548-7003 or 925-980-9052

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