Summary: It’s easy to take things personally when someone insults you, ignores you, is rude or treats you poorly in some other way. This study provides practical tools to avoid taking things personally or giving in to self-pity.
Summary: Bible study on learning how to avoid taking things personally or giving in to self-pity.
Doug Britton Books
Practical • Biblical • Cross-Cultural
Do Not Take Things Personally
Escape the Trap of Hurt Feelings
Doug Britton, MFT
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
[Love] … keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Hurt feelings can lead to anger or depression
One cause for anger or depression in many people is taking things personally, allowing their feelings to be hurt by others’ word and actions. The following ideas can help you not take things personally—even if the other person means for you to take them personally.
Related: Bible studies on depression
Steps to avoid hurt feelings or taking things personally
If someone says or does something that hurts your feelings:
Consider asking the other person if you have done something that hurt or offended him or her.
Concentrate on loving the other person (1 Peter 1:22). This focus helps you get away from being self-centered or self-conscious.
Realize the other person’s reaction may reflect pressure in his or her life.
Realize the other person’s reaction may reflect tiredness or exhaustion.
Realize the other person’s reaction may be due to him or her concentrating on issues, problems, or plans.
Realize the other person’s reaction may reflect personality problems. You can lovingly say to yourself, “Thats his (or her) problem.”
Realize that you may not see things clearly or may misinterpret something.
Realize that you may have set yourself up to be hurt.
Realize that you may be too sensitive, or that your expectations may be unreasonable.
Realize the other person may like you, but not desire an intimate closeness. Some people may have so many close friends that they can’t develop the intimate relationship you would like.
Realize that there are cliques or in-groups that will not accept you because of your social status, clothes, finances or other superficial reasons. This is a sign of their immaturity. Do not take it personally. (Note: You may assume too much. Not all rich people are snobs.)
Realize the other persons reaction may reflect difficulties or tragedies he or she is facing.
Realize that you may have done or said something to cause the person to react the way he or she did.
Realize that you cannot read other peoples minds.
Realize that the nature of friendships may change over time. Interests and needs change, and sometimes friendships change accordingly. For example, when a person has a child, it is common to develop more friendships with others who have children.
Realize that some people, even Christians, won’t like you, or that there may be personality conflicts. Still be polite and love them, but do not feel an obligation to win them over.
Realize that everybody is imperfect. If someone is inconsiderate, rude, or insensitive, you can lovingly say to yourself, “That’s his (or her) problem.” There is no need to take it personally, even if it is meant to be taken personally.
Turn to God for affirmation. This experience can help you grow in his Spirit and become more dependent on his love and approval.
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Copyright © 2006, 2016 Doug Britton. (Permission granted to print for personal use.)
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the 1984 New International Version.