Watch Out For These Poor Thinking Habits: Part 2

    Today we continue our exploration of poor thinking habits by discussing the tendency to “take things personally.”
    You may have read “The Four Agreements.” It was a bestseller a few years back and is a classic personal growth title. The one thing I remember most from this book is “Don’t take things personally.” I guess I remember this because I tend to do that.

    Publishing online has given me a big lesson on that one. You would not believe (or maybe you would) some of the things people feel free to say about what you put out online. Maybe it’s because they don’t know me, or aren’t reading in context, or aren’t looking me in the face. I’m not talking about constructive feedback, but in-your-face outrage and name-calling.

    Whatever the case, I am continuing to learn not to take things personally. It’s a good check of when I’m coming from a more ego-centered perspective when I find myself taking on those comments. Nevertheless, it’s often a challenge to put your heart into something and not take it personally when someone attacks it. A work in progress. . .

    The flip side of “taking things personally” is “thinking you know what others are thinking.” In this case, someone hasn’t given you a response, but you are reacting as if you know what they are thinking or feeling. How many times do you later discover that you were just projecting your own judgments and fears?

    Applying this again to my online publishing experience, it’s easy for me to interpret “no response” to what I write as a “negative response.” For example, if someone emails me with a question and I email back a detailed response, but I don’t hear back in return (which is common), I may interpret that as the person disliking what I had to say.

    They just as easily could have found my response just what they needed to hear, or some mixture of both. In truth, I don’t really know unless I hear back from them. The bottom line is that it’s a waste of time and energy to think that I know what someone else is thinking. A good check on this is to simply ask for feedback before I jump to conclusions.

    When you notice yourself either “taking things personally” or “thinking you know what someone else is thinking,” you might use these as moments to learn more about how you are relating to yourself. When you recognize yourself doing these things, you could use it as an opportunity to let go of self-judgment, forgive yourself and others, and move on with what is most important at the moment.

    Enjoy your practice,

    Kevin Schoeninger

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      2 Responses to “Watch Out For These Poor Thinking Habits: Part 2”

      1. Monya says:

        Hi Kevin, a very important lesson for me in this post, many thanks. Keep up the good work.

      2. Thanks for your positive feedback, Monya.

      Leave a Reply to Monya