It’s Not Personal

In our everyday interactions with others, we experience a wide variety of responses, or sometimes even lack thereof from others.  When dealing with other people, there are so many emotions and situations that we face and naturally a lot of the time, we as humans wonder our place in it all.  How much of other’s emotions and actions are a direct result of us?

When we communicate and relate to other people, we are constantly regulating our feelings and perceptions as well as taking in verbal and non-verbal cues from others.  A lot of how we communicate is a reflection of ourselves, or how we perceive ourselves.  As human beings, we put a lot of focus, blame, attention to the things that we do “wrong,” or “right.”  In a lot of cases, we are quick to assume that if someone is upset, or is not acting themselves around us, that it’s somehow possibly our fault. 

How many times can you recall that you have said things like “I wonder what I did wrong?,” “Could I have handled that better?,” “Did I say all the wrong things?,” “Does this person care for me anymore?,”  Lots of questions like these can go through our heads when someone we know acts different towards us.  Most of the time, it actually has nothing to do with us, it’s not personal.

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Say for example, your significant other is being really quiet one day, so many things run through your head and then you start replaying the conversations that you had with them that day to see if you have somehow caused them to be upset.  You later find out after your significant other has a chance to relax and unwind that they just had a really rough day at work.  Another example, you and your best friend talk often, always exchanging text messages and phone calls, one day your texts and calls are not returned like they usually are.  Again your mind wanders and thinks of all the possible reasons why, including the fact that somehow you may be the reason why they have gone distant.  Later on that night, you find out that your best friend had a ton on their plate that day and that they put their phone away most of the day wanting some much needed alone time. 

It is really important to remember that most of the time, other people’s emotions and actions have nothing to do with us.  Even when we are mistreated, that has more to do with how the other person feels about themselves, or their life than it does with us.  We can really drive ourselves crazy taking everything in life personally.  It’s often quite a relief to find out that most of the time it wasn’t about us at all. 

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In-between the Lines of Communication

As we carry out our daily lives, we are in constant communication with others. There are many different types of communication – verbal, non-verbal, written, etc. We are communicating with the world around us even when we do not intend to do so. When we think of communication, we probably instantly think of two or more people talking, however communication goes far beyond that. Communication is such a key to our lives, it serves many purposes.

Communication is so important to us and our well-being. It is so powerful that it has the ability to make or break us. The only true way that others know how we are feeling is how we express ourselves and our emotions. This is the base of human bonding and relationships. When we share how we feel and let our needs and wants be known, it helps us to have a peaceful heart and mind. It is sometimes very difficult to communicate things that are in our hearts and on our mind. We may fear the reaction of others, we may not want to start an argument, sometimes we may not even be able to express or convey our wants. It can be very detrimental to not share and communicate with others. Unresolved issues and communication issues are extremely damaging to oneself and their loved ones. I’m sure that a lot of us can recall a time where we didn’t speak up for ourselves, or we didn’t speak the whole truth, how did that make you feel? For me, this causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. It does not make me feel good about myself.

We are also communicating and sending out cues to others constantly without even trying. Our body language gives big clues on how we are feeling. Our facial expressions often can give away our emotions before we even say anything at all. The way we position our hands, our feet, our body, which way we are facing, all can convey interest or a desire for another to back away. Without thinking, we are constantly taking in information from others, this includes both verbal and non-verbal.

I am still trying everyday to better myself and to express myself. I recognize the importance of effective communication both in my professional and personal life and have seen what a lack of communication or miscommunication can do. It is up to us to express our feelings and desires, there is no other way for other individuals to know how we are truly feeling if we do not. It is equally important for us to ask questions and make sure that others are being heard. It is my hope that we can all speak our minds, because there aren’t many things in life as freeing.