I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard or been told ‘Don’t take it personally’. It always and still does rub me the wrong way. Right away, I feel my ire rising. Right away I start taking it personally. How could I not? It feels like I’m being criticized, reprimanded and being told I’m not ok. I’m the only one taking things personally. Everyone else is perfect. That’s what it feels like when I’m being told. The truth is everyone is very susceptible in taking things personally. How do I know?

Some people might think they are being subtle when they are totally not. You can tell how quickly they take things personally by how fast and when they ‘unfriend’ you. I have been ‘un’ a few times. I heard the click loudly through cyberspace. I felt a stab of bewilderment and hurt with that click. How could I not? I am human. There’s emotions and blood coursing through me. Most of these bewilderment and hurt are minor. They go the way of ‘whatever’. Life and I go on.

Then there’s the other kind, the in my face and not so subtle. Yes, I’m talking about my evil neighbour again. Maybe she is not so evil. She’s finally taught me that there are people who just don’t like me and that they can be mean about it. My mother once told me she could not understand why I have problems with tenants when they have their separate suite and I have mine. It is probably harder for her and other people to understand why I would have problems with neighbours. After all, we live in separate houses with defined boundaries.

I have trouble understanding that myself. Perhaps there is no understanding to be had. I’ve come to understand for now what is meant about not taking it personally. It really is about them, her, my neighbour, whoever it is of the moment. They don’t care for me, my energy, my skin colour, my odour, whatever it is. It really is about their choices, preferences, whatever. I’m ok with all that. As long as they respect me and don’t interfere, cross over my boundaries. As long as they are not deliberately lying, being mean and trying to provoke me for no reason. Then I do take it personally.

I’m on the verge of ranting again. Let me stop now. Let me not take things so personally. There is honour and courage in standing my ground, not responding in kind and still give them due respect. It is turning the other cheek and let their blows glance off. I can do that.


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