independent

Thursday 23 October 2014

Who is pulling your strings?

Emily Hurley-Wilkinson

Published 18/10/2012 | 09:24

DO you often find yourself reacting to what other people say and do?

When a friend or colleague is irritable and behaves like so do you automatically assume that they are mad at you even though their mood have nothing to do with you at all?

There are many people hurting themselves unnecessarily due to this negative pattern of thinking. Taking things personally often results from been too selffocused; assuming everyone's mood and reactions is about you!

In fact, more times than not what people say and do has so much more to do with them than it does about you.

Many people have personal issues and difficulties that cause them to behave in ways that may cause offence to others. However, we tend not to see these issues or insecurities because we get caught up with being a victim, trying to unravel what it is about ourselves that has caused this to happen.

Maybe they hit a spot that rings some truths and as a result you process this information by bringing to mind all the things that you believe are your areas of weakness. And before you know it your focus has shifted away from the person talking to an inner dialogue of self-sabotage.

There are more effective ways to handle negative events and people than taking them personally and the first step is in the realization that you are not a victim of anyone's behaviour or words.

In the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt .. 'no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.'

So how do you protect yourself from being at the mercy of others opinions, views and behaviour?

Firstly, take a close and honest look at yourself and find out if you have developed a ' martyr's complex'. Some people become so attached to feeling hurt and hard done by that they refuse or see no point in looking at things from a new perspective despite wanting to feel good.

Realize that the other person's behaviour or words may reflect problems within their own life or may indeed reflect personality problems. Perhaps they have poor communication skills or emotional management skills.

Observe how they interact with others; perhaps they have a sense of humour that is antagonistic! Maybe they feel threatened by you in some way due to their own insecurities.

Rather than taking things personally here, think about how you can help this person, whether to feel more relaxed with you or to offer your help in some way.

Remind yourself of your own value. You don't need any other person's approval. When you put too high an emphasis on other peoples' opinions, you may also unconsciously base your self - worth on how people see you. Realize that your selfworth and value comes from inside.

When you develop a clear sense of who you are you become strong and centred. Remember 'who' you are is much more meaningful and powerful than what happens you.

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