How to have a Better Relationship with Everyone, Especially Yourself!
By Lindsay Leimbach
Stuff happens that appears unfair, a mistake, and selfish.
when people show up late
when someone does something to offend me or breaks the rules
when bad short-term circumstances (poor dating life, low income) cause me to forget the bigger picture
when a driver cuts me off
These and many other negative things happen to everyone. It is not helpful to take them so personally and carry them deep into our minds.
Let’s start with an easy reason why it is not helpful to take life so personally – we become scary. Often when we feel wronged, let down, or disrespected, we become angry. Any angry person is unattractive and pushes people away. Do we have a right to be angry? Yes, at times. But our energy of anger is not usually productive. Instead, it builds up inside and leaks out at our jobs, family, or potential new friends and opportunities. The guy who cut us off on the road is long gone, but our anger can spill over into our whole day.
Let’s do another easy reason – we can get sick and die too soon. Yup, become sick and die. When we hold on to grudges, get mad about small details, or negatively judge others, we become chronically stressed, which takes a huge toll on the body. Some of the health risks of chronic stress are hypertension or inflammation. There is even a broken heart syndrome, which is also called stress cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy. It is a temporary condition that stressful situations can bring on. During broken heart syndrome, one part of the heart stops pumping normally. They are finding a 1:6 ratio for those that have this syndrome who have cancer. So, if this does happen, it might be good to get a proactive screening for cancer.
The inherent reason that it is important not to take things personally is explained well in Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic, “The Four Agreements.” His second agreement is, “Don’t take anything personally.” He states, "that whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally…Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own minds; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we assume that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
Let’s learn how to do it right from the centenarians. The book 50 Secrets of the Longest Living People by Sally Beare and other studies of centenarians have found what they have in common: they are resilient, positive, and have a happy outlook on life no matter what tragedies befall them. When we feel wronged, take a breath. Then, remember to look at the big picture. Remember not to make assumptions about why people act as they do. We can’t read other people’s minds. Remember to learn from those who are successful and positive while learning and growing older.