Every time I hear “Don’t take this personally, but…,” I brace myself for the criticism. You know it’s coming and it’s not going to be good.
The Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as: A phrase people use as a disclaimer to make an excuse to say or do something rude or mean to you, to prevent you from having a poor self-image, or so there won’t be repercussions, and to make you feel they still like you, even though they probably don’t.
Words Are a Reflection
It took me awhile to realize that the criticism coming down the road, directed at me, was actually a reflection of how the critic feels about him or herself and not about me. I am simply the inspiration.
However, not taking things personally is impossible. There is a healthy amount of self-involvement in everything we do, especially when what we do is important to us.
Wikihow has an article entitled, “How to Stop Taking Things Personally.” The first step is “Improving your self-confidence.” As if improving self-esteem was truly that easy. Taking things personally shows we care, but we seem to focus on the negative aspects.
The Sunshine in Rephrasing Criticism
What would happen if you turned this whole criticism issue upside down?
If it stings, at least I know it is important to me.
What would happen if I looked at particular criticism as an opportunity to know myself just a little better?