Do[n’t] Take It Personally

Posted on October 26, 2010

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So I’ve gone laptopless for a little over 24 hours.

I didn’t realize how attached I was to the Internet.

(A LOT.)

But back to business. I’ve had about 18 different ideas to write about, but I usually end up tossing them aside in the “Reject Pile.” But, out of fairness, I’m going to let one idea fly to see where it goes.

Let’s get a little personal. Or not.

I was at Fright Fest this past Friday. It was awesome! But as my friend and I were leaving, we kinda got mixed into this mass of people trying to exit all at once. Suddenly, I couldn’t find my friend. I finally found her, so I had to get past a few people to reach her. Behind me, I hear this woman say, “Yeah, just push me out of the way to get where you need to be. Thanks!”

So I ticked off some stranger I’ll never meet again. Big deal. But then it got me thinking about a conversation I had heard over the radio a couple weeks ago. The hosts were discussing how people sometimes feel (or act) like complete strangers are “out to get them.”

Ya know, like that one time you’re sitting in traffic, and someone completely cuts you off, and then honks at you (just for good measure), or might even flash you the finger. Seriously, was all of that necessary? Obviously not. It’s like the guy thinks you were purposefully trying to get in his way in order to ruin his already bad day.

The irony of that situation (and of most similar ones) is that people’s goals are exactly the opposite: they’re not out to get you personally. They’re looking out for themselves. They’re so consumed with their lives and what’s happening to them, that pissing you off “just to get to you” was their last intention. Don’t bother them–they’re busy worrying about their own lives to be concerned with yours.

Of course, I’m not leaving myself out of this group. I think we’re all guilty of this from time to time. Sometimes we’re so busy thinking about ourselves, we don’t even realize when someone unintentionally ticks us off, it has nothing to do with us.

Or look at it from the flip side–when we get stuck on ourselves, we unknowingly frustrate or aggravate someone in the process.

It’s great, isn’t it? This unending cycle of assuming people are out to get us, then getting blamed for annoying someone when we’re really just concerned with our own problems.

So here’s my solution (at least for myself): Most of the time, people are just dealing with their own issues–they’re not out to get me. So I’m going to stop thinking that the only possible reason someone ticked me off is that he (or she) is trying to get to me. And in the process, maybe I won’t unintentionally frustrate others.

But if I do, don’t take it personally.

Image Via Google Images.

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Posted in: Personal, Random