It’s so simple to advise, “Don’t take it personally.” And yet, too often, it’s utterly useless advice to someone in conflict. There’s something else they have to do first, before they can hope to stop taking it personally: They have to take it more personally.
Writer Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz was right when he said, “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
The trouble is, conflict by its very nature lives in our gut and chews on our insides. The discomfort of that experience distracts us from lofty objectivity.
To learn how not to take it personally, we must first take it more personally. We must step closer to it, wrap our arms around it, accept it, and work with it. We must understand why it’s eating at us instead of trying to hold it at arms length and examine it like a museum specimen.
When we allow it closer, instead of pushing it away, we allow ourselves to be taught by it, to learn what that gut-wrenching is trying to teach us. We learn something that can set us free.
If this idea resonates with you, my second book, The Conflict Pivot, is a good place to start.