The Art Of Taking Things Personally
I’ve been known to be a little sensitive from time to time.
I’m not saying that you need to trail behind me with a box of tissues everyday, or that you even need to monitor every word that comes out of your mouth.
But I do take a lot of things personally.
When did the art of taking things personally become a bad thing?
I’ve always been told that when doing something —whether it’s work-related, in a friendship, a creative endeavor, or a romantic relationship — that I should give it my all. And I’m proud to say that when I show up to any of those things, I do just that.
I do what I came to do, but when others fail to deliver or commit, I’m not allowed to take that personally? I know, everyone has a reaction, a think piece to write in response, an opinion to post and an argument to start. But how come no one is allowed to take some things personally, just because it’s personal to them?
I take a lot of things personally. When a friend or work colleague cancels plans or a meeting with me I often get irked. If I’ve written something that I’ve poured my heart into and receive it back with a hundred things to edit and change, it sometimes annoys me and makes me reevaluate my skills. When I pay (too much) money for an airline ticket, a meal or an event and I have a bad experience, I am angry that I wasted time and money. When someone turns me down for a job that I felt qualified for, I get frustrated and disheartened. This past Christmas, my significant other did not like a gift I had taken forever to pick out. Despite his best efforts to hide it, I felt like I had failed. During all of these instances, no one flat out said to me that I was inadequate as a person or a woman. But can’t I still take it personal because to me, it was personal?
Me taking things personally does not indicate that I am weak. Or that I need to “loosen up and take a joke.” It doesn’t mean you need to walk on egg shells around me, it just means that I care. That I want people to be intentional with their actions, and that when I take things personally it means that I was wholeheartedly invested in something.
And by the way? Men take things personally too — it is not just woman thing. Ever see a male athlete cry after losing a big game? Or a businessman fly off the handle at work when a client decides to go a different direction with something? What about when a male musician or comedian gets booed while on stage and they go berserk? Or when men in politics slander someone else because they felt attacked? Men in all of these scenarios had these reactions because they took something personally. Yet somehow, the fact that they showed emotion is still frowned upon. How dare a man express that he has taken something to heart, especially in public.
Men get shamed for being seen as weak and not masculine enough. And when a woman does it, it’s because she’s sensitive, emotional, uptight or on her period. Not all bad behavior in response to taking something personally should be justified, whether coming from a man or a woman. But at the very least, everyone should have the same right to be affected on a personal level.
And this doesn’t mean that they aren’t an understanding person. Sometimes you’re going to get your work rejected, lose a job or get dumped. Life gets in the way. But after those things happen, you deserve to react in a way that will not be diminished by others. Taking things personal is a sign of courage because you aren’t afraid to admit that your expectations weren’t met and you have been hurt or let down. So for heaven’s sake, let us take things personally.
After all, didn’t someone invent “personal days” in order to help keep us sane?