Do you tend to take things personally (even when they’re not about you)?
We humans often have a tendency to take things personally. This tendency can also be exacerbated if we’ve experienced relationships where we have had to walk on eggshells and manage someone else’s emotional landscape for them.
When someone is rude or dismissive, we might assume that it’s because we’re boring, or because we said something wrong. When someone is distant, we might assume that we did something to cause that. However, is that really always the most likely option?
While someone’s behaviour can be a direct reaction or response to something we did, that’s not always the case, and someone’s behaviour says more about them than it says about us. Usually, we are not the centre of someone’s universe or the main character of their life, and therefore not the reason for their behaviour.
Assuming responsibility for someone’s behaviour without any actual evidence that you’re at fault is usually not an accurate response to a situation. Exercising healthy self-reflection is obviously a good idea if you feel like someone’s behaviour might be a response to something you did.
However, an emotional mature person (in a situation that does not involve abuse) will tell you if you’ve been upset them instead of expecting you to read their minds. It’s the other person’s responsibility to communicate when they’re hurt or upset instead of expecting others to decipher clues from their behaviour. It’s not your job to play detective or assume responsibility when it comes to how someone behaves.
Instead of their behaviour being about you, they might
- Be struggling with something personal
- Have a busy or difficult day
- Not even realise that their behaviour seems off
- Be tired, anxious, or nervous
- Be projecting their insecurities onto you.
- Feel overwhelmed or scared.
- Be triggered by something
It’s not about you. Someone’s behaviour usually says more about them than it does about you, and the reason for this behaviour isn’t automatically your fault. What do you think? This is a nuanced topic, so I definitely welcome your views.