10 Hidden Signs You Take Things Too Personally (The Remedy)

17 minutes read

Do you often find that the words or actions of others hurt or offend you? Or probably, you have a tendency to overthink things and focus on criticism. When dealing with individuals that make you feel uncomfortable, do you find yourself retreating or avoiding them? If you responded yes to any of these questions, that’s a sign you take things too personally in your relationships.

Taking things personally affects self-esteem, happiness, and well-being – turning you into a defensive, resentful, or passive-aggressive, which is toxic to our relationships. The good news is that you can stop taking things personally and create a better and more resilient mentality.

This post will show you signs that you take things too personally and how to stop them. As a relationship coach, I’ve witnessed many folks turn a new leaf from this problem. You can also modify your attitude and become more confident and comfortable.

Signs You Take Things Too Personally

Let’s dive in.

1: You Assume Everything Is About You

If you assume everything is about you, that might be a sign you take things too personally. If someone is rude, you assume they dislike you. You assume someone doesn’t respect your time or prefers someone else over you if they cancel a plan. You also assume constructive feedback is criticism or that you’re not good enough.

It’s seldom about you. People do and say things for reasons unrelated to you. They may be upset, anxious, or struggling with their own troubles. That’s nothing personal, it’s just life.

The solution:

#1. Take the other person’s view. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what could be going on in their life that made them act offensively. Think of how you would act if you were in their position. Find out their real intention for saying that or acting that way?”

#2. Remind yourself that you are not the focus of everything that happens in the world. Many factors affect people’s behavior that are unrelated to you. Don’t be too sensitive to everything.

#3. Show sympathy. Instead of judging and accusing, attempt to understand and tolerate. Everyone has imperfections, makes mistakes, and has emotions. Don’t take it personally, chill out a little bit.

2: You Overthink Everything

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One of the key signs you take things too personally is that you overanalyze every detail. You replay the situation in your mind over and over again, looking for clues or evidence that confirm your negative assumptions. The question “What did they mean by that?” comes to mind. You think further; “Why did they say it like that?” “What did I do wrong?” “What if I had done this instead?” You tell yourself tales that worsen your mood.

Overthinking solves nothing, it’s only a sign you take things too personally. It increases anxiety, tension, and unhappiness. Overthinking stops you from moving on and letting go of the past.

The way out:

#1. Stop pondering and act. Instead of obsessing over what occurred, concentrate on how you can improve or avoid it. Instead of overthinking feedback that wounded your emotions, think of what you can learn from them. “How can I use it to improve my skills or performance?” “How can I communicate better with this person in the future?”

#2. Challenge those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Instead of believing everything your mind tells you, question its validity and accuracy. If you’re thinking, “They don’t like me,” challenge that assumption by asking yourself if that’s true; “Can I prove it?” “What evidence do I have?” Next, swap that bad thought with a positive one. Something like: Even if they don’t like me, that’s OK. I don’t need everyone to like me. I am content with myself and have people who care about me.”

#3. Focus on the now and be grateful instead of stressing about the past or future. Instead of overthinking a work situation that upsets you, focus on your breathing and body. Then think of three things today that you’re thankful for: “You could be thankful that you have a job that lets me pay your bills.” Be grateful for having a loving family and supportive friends.” There are many things to be thankful for; your health is part of it.

3: You Have Low Self-Esteem

Taking things personally lowers your self-esteem. It makes you not believe you’re brilliant, beautiful, or deserving of respect and love. You score yourself based on other people’s views, accomplishments, and things. Always lost in comparing yourself to others, making you feel inferior or inadequate. Any criticism hurts you. And you end up insecure and defensive – afraid of making mistakes or failing.

The truth is, you are enough. We all have something special to give the world, and you are no exception. Getting approvals aren’t bad, yet, you need no one’s approval to excel. Your values, talents, and interests define you. Being yourself merits respect and affection.

How to deal with low self-esteem:

#1. Create an inner foundation for your confidence. Focus on your intrinsic characteristics and accomplishments rather than external circumstances to establish your value. Instead of thinking, “I’m not good enough because I don’t have a degree,” consider, “I’m good enough because I’ve learned a lot from my life experiences and have skills I can use in different situations.” List your strengths and successes and read them daily.

#2. Stop comparing yourself to others; celebrate you. Do not compare yourself to others, focus on your strengths. Instead of thinking, “They are more successful than me,” consider, “They and I are successful in our own ways.”

#3. Appreciate your individuality. Be the best version of you. Accept your flaws. Accept your shortcomings as part of your humanity and evolution rather than blaming yourself. Instead of thinking “I’m stupid for making that mistake,” remember “I’m human and I make mistakes”. I can improve from this mistake.” Have self-compassion. Don’t take criticism personally; use them to grow.

4: You Are Too Attached to Your Expectations

 

When you take things personally, you have unrealistic or rigid expectations of how things or people should be or behave. You want everyone to like, respect, and treat you how you wish. You want a fair and uncomplicated life, and expect things to always go smoothly.

Reality often disappoints. People have different opinions, preferences, personalities, and backgrounds that may clash with yours. Unexpected events may cause problems. Life isn’t always fair and easy. Sometimes it’s hard and unpredictable.

How to detach from expectations:

#1. Lessen your hopes and embrace the truth. Accept things and people as they are and adapt. “They should listen to me and do what I say” could be replaced with “They have their own opinions and choices that may differ from mine.” I can respect their differences and communicate my needs clearly.” Be accommodating. Take things as they come rather than take them personally.

#2. Focus on the process, not the result. Enjoy the process, not the outcome. Instead of “I have to win this game or I’ll fail,” consider “I’ll do my best and have fun.” Appreciate every challenge’s effort and learning.

#3. Be grateful and positive. Appreciate what you have and what went well rather than moaning. “This is unfair and horrible” should be replaced with “This is unfortunate but manageable.” Find the lesson in every challenge. Take things as they evolve, not personally.

5: You Don’t Set Healthy Boundaries

The sign you take things too personally is that you allow others’ words, actions, and views to influence you; giving them undue control over your emotions and self-esteem. You almost can’t say no or assert boundaries when someone disrespects you or crosses the line. It can also come off as not being able to express one’s feelings or needs in a healthy way. You don’t know how to protect yourself from toxic or negative influences.

Healthy boundaries are the answer. They define our relationship standards and sustain self-esteem and well-being. Setting boundaries help you prevent taking things personally and getting hurt by others.

What to do:

#1. Know your values and your rights. Know what you want and deserve before setting limits with others. For example, you may value honesty, respect, kindness, or loyalty.  Make a list of your values and your rights and use them as a guide for your boundaries.

#2. Communicate your boundaries clearly and respectfully. You must communicate your boundaries and standards once you know them. “I appreciate your feedback, but not your tone,” you may reply. “Please speak to me respectfully” or “I enjoy spending time with you, but I need some space.” Please respect my privacy and don’t call me after 10 pm.” Politely assert yourself.

#3. You must enforce boundaries and ensure others respect them. For instance, “I told you not to call me after 10 pm.” “This is unacceptable and I will not answer your calls anymore.” This behavior is unacceptable, so I’ll end this conversation.” Be resolute. Be firm, not emotional.

6: You Avoid Conflict and Confrontation

You avoid uncomfortable situations and people when you take things personally. Such a person wouldn’t like to argue, disagree, or express their opinion if it differs from others. You dislike facing rejection, criticism, or disappointment. And ultimately avoid dealing with difficult emotions or problems. Peace is your priority and you’ve got to keep it at all cost.

The problem is, avoiding conflict and confrontation doesn’t make them go away. It only makes them worse. That’s a sign you take things too personally. Avoiding issues prevents you from solving and learning from them. You’re also not being heard or expressing yourself.

The fix is:

#1. Face your fears and use conflict and confrontation to progress. Instead of avoiding them, address them productively. If someone disagrees with you, talk to them respectfully and try to understand their perspective. You may learn something new or find common ground.

#2. Be honest and assertive. Share your thoughts frankly. For example, instead of acting like everything is fine when someone hurts you, tell them how you feel and what you need from them. You deserve respect and self-expression.

#3. Maintain composure. Control your emotions and be cool. Take a deep breath and listen to criticism instead of becoming upset or defensive. You may find some value in their feedback or may disagree with it politely.

7: You Blame Yourself or Others

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The sign you take things too personally is that you blame yourself or others for your problems. Your mind is almost configured to believe everything happening in your life is your fault, or the world is conspiring against you. You don’t own your acts or hold others responsible. And, you run through life blindly, not seeing the bigger picture or the multiple factors that influence any situation. Hope that describes your situation.

Blaming yourself or others won’t help. It’s a sign you take things too personally. You’ll only end up feeling guilty, resentful, and helpless. Meanwhile, it inhibits you from learning from your errors or forgiving others.

The remedy:

#1.  Control what you can and let go of the rest. Instead of blaming yourself or others for everything that occurs, concentrate on how to improve or avoid it. For instance, rather than criticizing yourself for being dumb or the instructor for being cruel if you fail a test, concentrate on how to study better next time.

#2. See things from different perspectives and be objective. Try to remain neutral and observe things from multiple perspectives instead of assuming the worst of people. Instead of criticizing someone for being impolite or yourself for being unlikeable, attempt to understand what could be going on in their lives.

#3. Practice forgiveness and compassion. Instead of holding grudges or feeling bitter towards yourself or others, forgive and let go. rather than criticizing someone for betraying you or yourself for being foolish, attempt to understand and forgive them.

8: You Seek Perfection

When you take things personally, you set unreasonable or unattainable expectations for yourself and others. You insist on perfection and believe every mistake is a sign of weakness. You assume that any criticism or feedback is a personal attack.

The challenge is that trying to be perfect is a sure way to be frustrated and let down. That’s a sign you take things too personally. Nothing is perfect except God. By trying to be perfect, you set yourself up to fail and be unhappy. You are also missing out on the beauty and joy of imperfection.

How to change your view:

#1. Embrace imperfection as part of life and part of yourself. Instead of striving for perfection, aim for excellence and improvement. For example, if you make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up for being imperfect, congratulate yourself for trying and learning. Learn from every mistake.

#2. Consider criticism and feedback as constructive and beneficial. Take them professionally, rather than personally. If someone criticizes your work, thank them and use their feedback to improve it. Feedback is a gift and an opportunity to improve.

#3. Celebrate your achievements and progress. Focus on your exploits and seek to do more. Instead of nitpicking and comparing, applaud your project’s completion and effort. Celebrate every success.

9: You Take Everything Literally

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When you take things personally, you interpret everything literally. You don’t consider the context, the tone, the intention, or the humor behind what people say or do. You don’t read between the lines or look for the hidden meaning. Also, one of the signs you take things too personally is that you don’t appreciate sarcasm, irony, or jokes.

Taking everything literally at face value is one of the subtle signs you take things too personally. It can make you miss subtleties in communication and interaction. It might also make you misjudge others, and dull your sense of pleasure and humor.

The Remedy:

#1. Watch the scenario and nonverbal signals. Instead of accepting everything literally, observe the person’s body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and context. If someone says something rude or harsh but smiles or laughs, they may be joking or teasing. Or if someone says something that sounds nice or flattering, but they are frowning or rolling their eyes, they may be sarcastic or insincere.

#2. Ask questions and clarify. Ask questions to be sure you understand. Don’t assume anything if someone offends or confuses you. Ask what they mean or desire. Don’t take it personally if someone shocks or undermines you. Ask them why.

#3. Develop your sense of humor and playfulness. Instead of taking everything seriously, learn to laugh at yourself and at life. Don’t get angry or defensive if someone teases or pranks you. Laugh along with them and prank them back. Don’t worry if anything bad happens. Find the humor in it and turn it into a joke.

10: You Isolate Yourself

Taking things personally isolates you from people and life. You assume people hate you or don’t care. You think that life is hard and unfair. You believe attempting or reaching out is pointless. You prefer to stay in your comfort zone and avoid any risk or challenge.

Isolation makes you lonely and miserable. Additionally, it robs you of the social connections and support you need and deserve. And hinders you from trying new things and exploring new possibilities.

How to connect better:

#1. Reach out to other people and make friends. Build genuine relationships with people instead of isolating yourself. At least you’d have someone to pass the time with or talk to when feeling lonely or unhappy. Join an interest-based club or organization to make new acquaintances.

#2. Engage in life and try new things. Instead of avoiding life, engage in life and try new things. For example, if you feel bored or stuck in a rut, do something different or challenging that sparks your curiosity or passion. Take a course or read a book you like to learn something new or better yourself.

#3. Be open and inquisitive: Be curious about yourself, people, and life instead of shutting up. Don’t allow your fears stop you. Explore and learn. Or if you encounter someone or something different or unfamiliar, don’t judge or reject it. Adore it.

Signs You Take Things Too Personally – The Takeaway

Taking things personally causes tension and misery. It affects relationships, self-esteem, and mental health. This isn’t necessary. Stop taking things personally and live freely and cheerfully.

In this article, I have shared with you 10 signs you take things too personally and how to overcome them:

– Realize that it’s not about you—stop overthinking everything—build your self-esteem from within—adjust your expectations to reality—set appropriate boundaries with yourself and others

Face your anxieties and embrace conflict and confrontation; take responsibility for what you can manage and let go of what you can’t; accept imperfection as part of life and yourself; and pay attention to non-verbal signs and the circumstance.

– Connect with people.

These measures are difficult yet worthwhile. Follow these steps to reduce sensitivity and boost resilience. You’ll handle any scenario or person with greater confidence and elegance. Life will be more enjoyable.

Why wait? Stop taking things personally today! You deserve it!

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