Would you believe me if I told you that nothing’s personal? Even if or when someone is trying to offend you, it’s really about them?

In this episode, I’m teaching you how to take your power back and stop taking things personally because you know what? Life is short and learning the skills to not sweat the small stuff will exponentially increase your capacity for peace and happiness. 

If you find yourself easily offended or endlessly ruminating over why someone said or did something, this episode is for you.

I’m giving you 6 simple steps you can take to understand why you might take things personally… and how to get empowered to stop!

In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz, world-renowned spiritual teacher, and author, writes: 

 “Don’t take anything personally.”

So what does that mean? It means that everyone is in their own experience:

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.

Easier said than done, I know. But if we can learn how to come from a place within us where what’s happening externally isn’t internalized, it puts you in a position of power and higher emotional functioning. 

It’s important for you to understand why you might be taking things too personally because it can have a negative impact on your relationships, your career and your internal world. Taking everything to heart is a dysfunctional way of reacting to the people in your life. 

So here are some practical strategies you can use to start to filter your experiences and raise your awareness about your reactivity:

1. Check the Source. When you find yourself taking something personally, stop and ask yourself: who is it coming from? Is it your partner or is it the mailman? There should be a healthy hierarchy of whose opinions and actions you care about…and whose you don’t. We can’t have all the people in the world holding the same level of importance in our life. So remember to check the source the next time a total stranger flips you off in traffic. It’s not you. It’s them.

2. Are You Sure You’re Not Projecting? Projecting has become something of a buzz word in the self-help and wellness space, but it was first theorized by Freud and then expanded upon by Anna Freud. It’s a psychological defense mechanism, as in, a way our minds protect us from pain or discomfort. 

Projection happens when we disavow feelings that are uncomfortable or out of alignment with how we see ourselves and we reassign those feelings to someone else. I give real life examples of what this looks like in the episode, so be sure to watch it here or listen to it here.

Sometimes, when we get offended or take something personally, it’s possible that we’re projecting our feelings about that person onto them. 

3. What meaning are you assigning to the situation? We are wired to make meaning. It’s part of the human experience. That said, it is so essential to be aware of when we’re making something mean something it might not or making up stories or scripts to fill-in-the-blanks of why someone did or said something when in reality, we don’t really know! 

Quick example: someone’s short with you at work. It hurts your feelings and now you start thinking… oh man, I said something stupid in that meeting yesterday and now they think I’m an idiot and don’t want to be seen talking to me. WOW. See what I mean? It can be a slippery slope of negativity and bad feelings. 

4. Don’t assume you know what’s going on…you know what they say about making assumptions, right? This one goes hand in hand with #3. This is about being mindful and staying on your side of the street. It’s about not assuming you know the personal motivations of others…because, truly, unless you ASK, you don’t! 

Remember, reality is ALWAYS subjective. Have you ever heard that saying: there are three sides to every story…yours, mine and the truth?  

If you are feeling hurt, offended or pissed about something, first check the source (See #1). Is it someone in your VIP section? If it is, be straightforward and ask, “I sense something is wrong. Can we make time to talk and clear the air?”

5. Repeat offense? Dig deeper. If you have a repeated situation where you take things personally from one particular person in your life, it might be time to explore this a bit more. Sometimes, when we take a step back and examine our responses, we can recognize that they are hotter or more tender than they should be given the person or the current circumstance. 

This could be an indicator that we’re having an emotional transference and that our response in the current moment is actually a response to an unresolved or painful experience from the past. In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m sharing a tool to help you uncover the original injury, so make sure to grab that right here, right now. 

6. Don’t give away your power! What is really happening when you take things personally on the regular? You’re basically giving virtual strangers power over how you feel so it’s vital to be discerning. 

I hope this inspired you because you know what? 

You are not that fragile and being reactive instead of mindfully responsive is not in your highest or best interest. You have the power to prioritize your own reality and learning how to not take things personally is such an essential piece of this! 

I want to know how this resonated with you and what you think so please, keep your comments coming! I read them all and I am super interested in what is on your mind and in your heart. I want you to get what you want in life, happiness, peace, abundance, health, love…all of the things! So keep talking to me and I will keep talking to you ❤️. 

If this added value to your life, please share it! You are IT for me, I so appreciate you and as always, take care of you. 

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  1. I am so glad you said “none of us is going to perfect this” – thank goodness for that, I don’t want to be the only one who can’t “do it right”. 😉

  2. Hello Terri, your article was awesome and perfectly hit the bulls eye!????.. to be very honest, I have a few people in my circle including a family member that does not treat me very well. It’s hard to play the ‘understanding’ person all the time. Although all the points in your article resonate with me, I still experience angry feelings towards these set of people. How should I overcome such negative feelings?… thanks!!

    1. I hear you! Your anger might be trying to tell you something. It sounds like your boundaries might be crossed. You are allowed to advocate for yourself and ask for what you need and how you want to be treated. If you’re looking for where to start, I have lots of videos about boundaries here for you. I am sending you strength and protection.

  3. In this video you mention “the healthier we get, the more we are not driven by unresolved childhood experiences and injuries.”

    What are your thoughts on the perspective of other authors who give examples of seemingly healthy individuals who actually use childhood experiences and injuries as the very motivation to springboard them forward with passion to their success? Would you say these childhood experiences are ‘resolved’, even though they stroll trigger deep emotional responses?

    I am referring specifically to stories as recorded by brad McAllister in the happiness game (at least I think that’s where I remember reading the above thoughts from).

    1. I don’t know Brad McAllister but it is common for people to use unresolved experiences to launch them into success. But they also get to what seems like their goal and still feel unresolved or unsatisfied. We can’t ever know what anyone else is going through and must keep our eyes on our own paper. Our responsibility is to ourselves and our own healing. I am sending you compassion and strength.

  4. Firstly Terri I want to thank you for your being and your willingness and passion for uplifting the people be been listening to your guided meditations via the astrotwins for a while now and you never seem to miss a beat when it comes to what I need at the time

    This article speaks volumes to me on so many levels and is right on time as always , I’m a new mother to a gorgeous 4 month old baby girl I’m currently living in so cal but I’m from the Midwest I have no family here(that I’m aware of) so most of our immediate support comes from my hubby’s family , he’s is the only boy in his family so this being his first child is a huge deal to them they Care deeply Corp ur daughter and it shows but I can also see how they’re excitement and concern can come with unwarranted advice and overstepping of boundaries to say the least I wasn’t taught how to stand up for myself growing up so that’s something I’m now learning through my twenties it can be scary when I wave so much to say but don’t know how to bring it up in a constructive way where I will feel heard valued and not come off as overly aggressive,

    I tend to take a lot of things personally I’d like to blame my Aries moon for that but I don’t want to ! It doesn’t feel good to take a lot of things personally and I know I care waaaay too much about what his family thinks of me but I’m also tired of feeling like they have this entitlement over our daughter thank you again , also thank you for taking the time to read this , blisssings ?

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I am witnessing you and your experience with compassion. Being here and your willingness to grow is making a difference.

  5. This episode arrived exactly when I needed it most.
    I’m also part of the thrive hive group and for me this integrates perfectly the self esteem focus of the month. I realised that I tend to take things personally and to seek external validation because sometimes I feel that I’m not good enough. Thank you Terri for the insights!

    1. I’m so glad it’s resonating and that you are in Thrive Hive!!! Love having you in both places Valentina 🙂

  6. Thank you for sharing this Terri! I resonated with so much of what you said, especially:

    “We can’t have all the people in the world holding the same level of importance in our life.”

    I also really love #3 – I realize that the story I’m telling myself isn’t the nicest one. I’m working on changing this.

    Sometimes it’s hard for me to know what to say in social situations because I’ve spent many many years with enmeshed boundaries (with maternal figure – I have a feeling it matters whether it’s mamma or papa because, in many situations, I get really scared expressing myself around women). I’m fascinated with the psychology behind all of this.

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure it’s obvious that I’m fumbling through these social situations and that makes me self conscious. It reaffirms that not-so-nice story I’m “addicted” to telling myself.

    Many times, I will assign a random stranger way too much importance in my life and then take it so personally when it isn’t reciprocated. I’m trying to learn the appropriate amount to give in social situations but it is challenging. I think that’s where I get messed up – not understanding all the rules of social interaction.

    I feel that socially, there is a lot of room for growth as I evolve out of of the enmeshed boundaries of my childhood/early adulthood and into a more interdependent approach.

    I’m also learning how to stop being so “nice” and more bold, authentic and real. Scary stuff but it’s necessary. I want to figure out who I am and have the self confidence to own it while still being respectful and socially appropriate.

    I’m ready to move forward in my life and I want to be able to truly show up for the people in my life, namely my loved ones – from a healthy, interdependent place. I don’t want to always feel like I have to people please anymore so THANK YOU for sharing this video. And thank you for your work… It has made a huge impact on me life. Your work opened the door for true healing and personal growth.


    1. This is beautifully said. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad to hear it resonated for you and it’s helping you to move to a more self-loving place.

  7. Would love to hear your thoughts on how to respond to a partner who often projects during arguments. Ignoring the projection doesn’t seem helpful. Responding to the projection in a manner in which you try to correct that that is not what you think/feel seems to validate the projection…not helpful. Calling it out as a projection also seems not helpful. Scripts for this would be cool!

  8. Thank you so much, Terri, for making a video about this topic. I do this all the time. I see a couple of my friends talking and they don’t say hi or wave, even when I know they see me. I immediately feel that they will now be talking about me or don’t like me. This makes me very sad. But now I understand that it isn’t true. I’m 72 and have spent way too much of my life being sad over things that just aren’t TRUE. I’m going to try very hard to cure myself of this problem and I thank you, again, for pointing it out. I don’t know why I did this to myself for so long.

  9. Someone once said to me, speaking as though they were addressing their therapist, “And now, you just got too close to the truth, so I’m never coming back here any more.”

    It was a joke, but a testament to your pleasant presentation of what can be very unpleasant truths, that I *do* stick around and repeatedly watch your videos. Thank you!

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