How to Stop Taking It Personally

Moksha Living
5 min readApr 6, 2023

By: Michell Stanley, LICSW, ACC, RYT

Masterfully Respond to the Most Common Relationship Triggers

When we take something personally, we are reacting emotionally to an event or situation that we perceive as a personal attack or criticism, even if it was not intended that way. This response is often a way for us to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable or insecure. By interpreting the situation as a personal attack, we are able to defend ourselves and our self-esteem.

However, this defense mechanism can also lead to misunderstandings and conflict. When you take something personally you are more likely to react impulsively or aggressively, which can create a negative emotion within you and possibly be further detrimental to your relationships.

Below are some of the most common situations that trigger you to take things personally and how to course correct so that you can understand yourself and improve your relationships.

Keep reading, If you want to learn how to respond effectively when others behave badly while understanding your own shadow side ;) Learn what questions to ask when you feel yourself getting triggered. So that you can bring light to some of your biggest relationship challenges.

Personalization Trigger Warning 1: Seeking Confidence through Comparison

Comparing yourself to others distorts self-confidence because you’re evaluating yourself by looking at what others have that you believe is lacking in yourself. Learning to take stock of what makes you exceptional will help prevent negative self-comparison while enhancing self-worth.

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself :

  • What are the things I can be proud of?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • Who Do You admire or look up to? and Why?

Personalization Trigger Warning 2: Impatience

Impatience can be more than a source of annoyance; it has the potential to cloud our judgment and expectations of others. We often lose sight of what truly matters when we become impatient in relationships, expecting immediacy instead of finding value in a natural pace and different perspectives.

a) Depersonalization Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What are the actual consequences and benefits of slowing down?
  • What is realistic to accomplish while maintaining balance?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • What are your priorities and timelines for this situation?

Personalization Trigger Warning 3: Jealousy or Envy

Jealousy and envy can trigger a personalization effect, because hearing of another’s successes or joy reminds you of what you lack or desire in yourself. Jealousy may indicate you desire something that somebody else has, while envy can reflect your own insecurity.

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself:

  • Is there something (this person has or is) that I want or desire?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • What did you do to get where you are/have what you have?

Personalization Trigger Warning 4: People Pleasing

Wanting to please others makes you emotionally sensitive and therefore more prone to taking things personally. You may also feel like you are being criticized or attacked when someone does something that is not about you.

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself:

  • What can I give to myself that I wish to get from others?

b) Depersonalization Questions to Ask Others:

  • What are you willing to do to help me or the situation?

Personalization Trigger Warning 5: Being Ignored

If you find yourself nagging, complaining or repeatedly asking for someone to do something, you might feel like the person is mad, hurt or disappointed with you. Instead try to prioritize what’s most important and ask for one thing at a time.

a) Depersonalization Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What is one thing that would make the biggest difference to receive?
  • When and how should I express this need?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • What’s getting in your way (of doing what I asked)?

Personalization Trigger Warning 6: Not Getting the Love You Want

Feeling starved for affection, validation or attention results in frustration, rejection and unworthiness. However, if you aren’t loving, caring and compassionate to yourself, what you get from others will never feel like enough.

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself:

  • How do I care for my own emotions?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • What love languages or the easiest and the hardest for you to express?

Personalization Trigger Warning 7: Superiority Complex

Everyone has something to learn from one another. It may be easy for someone with experiential knowledge, wisdom or higher intelligence to fall into the trap of feeling superior- but this way of thinking can lead you down a path that is disempowering and disrespectful. Instead, you should recognize your unique qualities while fostering humility, mutual respect and admiration

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself:

  • What are my deficits and challenges?

b) Depersonalization Questions to Ask Others:

  • What have you tried to tell me that I missed or deflected?

Personalization Trigger Warning 8: Martyrdom

Are you feeling taken for granted or like the world revolves around other’s needs? You may be an unconscious martyr, habitually sacrificing yourself to fulfill others’ expectations. This can leave a sense of resentment that’s hard to shake off. Learning to see this role as a choice and not as a requirement can create personal and interpersonal freedom.

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself:

  • What boundaries or limits can I create for my own health and happiness?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • How might I have hurt you by trying to help?

Personalization Trigger Warning 9: Trying to Control the uncontrollable

The desire for control is a natural and normal need. The problem occurs when you become a control freak by trying to control things that you can’t.

a) Depersonalization Question to Ask Yourself:

  • What evidence do I have to trust that I will be ok no matter what happens?

b) Depersonalization Question to Ask Others:

  • Is there anyone else who can take the lead?

Personalization Trigger Warning 10: Avoidance & Procrastination

Not wanting to do something can be a reflection of the tension between what’s going on internally and externally. It could stem from: 1. not knowing where to begin or 2. Having an emotion override your motivation or 3. A desire to show through behavior what you won’t say in words. Either way, these discrepancies usually lead you down a path of disconnection with yourself and those around you.

a) Depersonalization Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Which one of the 3 reasons above pertains to me?
  • Can I shift the emotion that is holding me back?

b) Depersonalization Questions to Ask Others:

  • Can we brainstorm a list of possibilities we can pursue towards the result or goal?

Hope you found some helpful tools in this exercise. If you want to know more about how to take your conversations to the next level by asking the right questions, Join our upcoming 3 Conversations Class coming up in a couple of weeks! More @ the link below!

Michell Stanley Certified Professional Coach, Licensed Psychotherapist

My mission is to help professionals who are (or aspire to be) coaches, counselors or entrepreneurs, to discover how to use conversations to maximize their potential, enhance fulfillment, enrich relationships and align career with purpose by learning how to coach.