I am an award-winning author in both memoir and spiritually based self-help.
My current book project, It’s Not About You: How to Stop Taking Things Personally by Taking Personal Responsibility, is a hybrid, of sorts; blending memoir and self-help. It’s the first book I pitched at the very first writing conference I attended (about fifteen years ago), and where I was invited to send material to a well-respected publisher. For various reasons, I put the project away and switched my efforts to completing my memoir, Glowing Houses, (which I have done!).
In It’s Not About You, I share stories about how taking things personally has affected my life in negative ways—which, by the way, is a universal problem. Seeing how prolific this behavior is inspired me to write about it.
We can’t control how someone treats us, but we can control our reaction or response. Sounds simple, but far from it! Consider road rage, as one scenario. Reacting to being cut off in traffic can ruin your whole day. If you let it.
It was in my late twenties that I had the “aha” moment where I saw clearly that I was allowing other people’s actions to control me, my way of being. My attitude and behavior became defensive. I was a victim. Always on guard, ready to bite back.
Over time, the victim mentality will eat you up from the inside out. Literally. I now understand more about my health issues; namely auto-immune disorders (which is related to poor gut health.) When we take things personally, we lose trust (confidence) in ourselves. Emotionally, this thinking hits us right in the gut. You can actually feel it happening (knots, acid reflex, and shallow breathing).
I’ve spent the past thirty years working to recognize my tendency to take something personally. Along the way, I have developed a deeper understanding of what triggers this response (which is different for everyone) and some tools to get through the tough spots.
In the book, I have a chapter titled, “Soul-utions” where I offer strategies to navigate this inconspicuous, destructive, trait of taking things personally.
It is in inevitable, you know, that you will take something personally. If you put yourself out there—which you must!—you will encounter difficult relationships, situations and events. These are opportunities to practice not taking things personally, which you will learn about in It‘s Not About You.
Finding the “it” is part of what I tackle in the book. Once you understand your trigger—it—the it loses power over you.
My mantra is: It’s not ABOUT me. It’s all ON me.
In order to make the above mantra stick, you need a plan, a strategy, a roadmap. My book is your roadmap.