How often do you find yourself feeling attacked, sad, or overlooked? You may try to tell yourself not to take everything so personally- but find it hard to stop your mind from going there.
In a brilliant Ted Talk, Frederick Imbo explains his amazing strategy for preventing himself from taking things personally. Imbo is a Master Practitioner in NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and a transpersonal coach. He helps many people to improve their communication skills will presentations and workshops.
During the powerful video, Imbo brings up various situations in which we might be prone to take someone else’s actions personally. For example, he says “Imagine you invite a friend to go to the movies, and she replies, ‘Oh sorry, I have to work.’ But you see a picture on social media of her having dinner with some friends that very night. Or imagine you really have worked very hard on a project. You are really proud of the end result, but the only thing you get is criticism.”
He continues and asks the audience to give a show of hands if they would take these scenarios personally. “Why? Why do we take things personally? Somebody says or does something and BAM! We feel hurt, neglected, offended, or betrayed by the other one. That’s what we believe, though. It’s the other person’s fault. He’s responsible for what we feel. He’s the one to blame.”
Imbo believes that the part of ourselves that causes us to take these things so seriously is our ego. Our ego needs acknowledgment. Our ego wants to be right. When we allow our ego to take over we may get lost in a string of exhausting thoughts that get us nowhere.
“Wouldn’t it be so much easier to not take things personally? Because then no one has power over you. You’re free. You experience much more harmony and connection between you and other people.”
My favorite part of this talk and the most powerful part, to me, is when he says, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy. I know what some of you are thinking, ‘I will make sure I will be happy by being right.’ Well, how do you do it?”
So, how do we shift from being ego-driven to not taking everything personally? His strategies are simple. His first strategy is to realize that it’s not about you. “When you put your son to bed but he doesn’t want to, he throws himself on the floor, kicking and screaming, ‘I hate you!’ Do you take that personally? No! No, you don’t because you know it’s not about me. It’s about what he wants, what he needs. He’s angry because he wants to stay up a bit longer, that’s all. So the first strategy to not take things personally is it’s not about me. Look at the other persons’ intention.”
Rather than making it about ourselves, if we put ourselves in the shoes of the person who has offended us, we will likely realize that they aren’t trying to cause us harm. Instead, they have their own needs and responsibilities. Frederick suggests a few other strategies and provides a light-hearted approach that is simple to understand and truly resonates.
As humans, I believe we all struggle with our egos from time to time. And it can be so inspirational and helpful to see things from a different perspective. I don’t know about you- but I truly needed this video today!
The talk is short, coming in at under 20 minutes. And it’s definitely worth the watch. Be sure to watch it below, and to check out Frederick’s website. There is a lot of information there as well!