How to Not Take Things Personally

How to Not Take Things Personally

Taking things personally can have a big impact on our emotional wellbeing. When someone says something that we perceive as hurtful or critical, it’s a natural reaction to feel defensive or upset. However, reacting this way often does more harm than good.

Understand Where Others Are Coming From

When someone says something that bothers us, it usually says more about them and what they’re going through than it does about us. We all have our own insecurities and struggles that affect how we treat others.

Rather than making assumptions, reacting emotionally, or escalating the situation, try to understand their perspective with compassion. Ask yourself what they might be dealing with to cause them to act this way.

Don’t Take Feedback Personally

Feedback, even when critical, is usually intended to be constructive. While tone and delivery make a big difference, in most cases the goal is to help us improve rather than to hurt us.

Rather than becoming defensive or discouraged, listen openly and consider whether there are any helpful takeaways you can learn from. If the feedback seems overly harsh or inaccurate, you can choose to politely disregard it.

Realize It’s Not About You

One of the most freeing mindset shifts is realizing that other people’s words and actions are much more about them than you. We all have our own biases, wounds, and triggers that shape how we treat each other.

While pain caused by others is always regrettable, remembering that their behavior is their responsibility can help prevent over-personalization. You do not deserve mistreatment, even when someone tries to convince you otherwise.

Manage Your Own Emotions

While we cannot control other people, we can control how we respond. When we feel our anger or hurt rising, we can choose empathy, courage and emotional regulation instead.

Through centering practices like mindful breathing, perspective-taking, assertive (rather than aggressive) communication, and self-care, we can learn to better manage our emotions and not take negative interactions so personally.

Practice Self-Compassion

Treating ourselves with kindness and understanding helps us extend the same courtesy to others. Self-compassion builds resilience and emotional intelligence.

When someone says something upsetting, responding with self-criticism only compounds the pain. Speaking gently to ourselves as we would a friend encourages us not to take things so personally when they do not go as we had hoped.


What does it mean to take things personally?

Taking things personally means reacting emotionally to the words or actions of others as though they are direct attacks on you or accurate reflections of your worth.

Why is it harmful to take things too personally?

Taking things too personally often leads to overreactions that cause more harm to ourselves and our relationships. It distorts our sense of reality and ability to respond thoughtfully.

What are some mindset shifts that help prevent over-personalization?

Understanding that other people’s behavior is more about them than you, responding vs reacting, managing your own emotions effectively, and being kind to yourself all help prevent taking things too personally.

What communication skills can reduce reactivity and oversensitivity?

Skills like compassionate curiosity, reflective listening, emotional intelligence, assertive communication, and managing conflict in a relationship help reduce overly emotional reactions.

How can I practice self-compassion even in difficult interpersonal situations?

Treating yourself with the same kindness, care and understanding you would show a good friend builds resilience. Using positive self-talk, rather than self-criticism, when you feel upset prevents compounding the emotional pain.