Don’t take things personally (quotes)


Taking things personally


The human ego loves to take things personally for it is inherently defensive

  • There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. The ego loves to make wrong in order to be right. Ego takes everything personally. Emotion arises, defensiveness, perhaps even aggression. Are you defending the truth? No, the truth, in any case, needs no defence. Eckhart Tolle
  • The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness. John O’Donohue
  • Transcending the ego

Taking things personally leads to drama and conflict

  • When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. You make something big out of something so little, because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Conflict management

Taking things personally leads to suffering

  • All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Suffering

Often, it’s not even the direct words and actions of others we take personally but our assumptions about them

  • Don’t Make Assumptions. We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking—we take it personally—then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. That is why when we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • AssumptionPerception

What others think about you says more about them than you


The truth is that what others see and react to in you is a projection of what’s happing in them …

  • Everything you see in another is a projection of an aspect of yourself. Michelle Mayur
  • Projection (Psychology): To ascribe one’s own feelings, thoughts, or attitudes to others.
  • The whole world is simply my story, projected back to me on the screen of my own perception. All of it. Byron Katie
  • The world that we perceive is a reflection of our own states of mind and reveals our own level of consciousness. The world is little more than a Rorschach blot in which we see our own desire systems projected. We see what we want to see. Prem Prakash
  • The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference – the dominant ideas, wishes and emotions in our minds. We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it. We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing. A Course in Miracles
  • When you do the work, you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts. Byron Katie
  • What we’re seeing “out there” is the projection of where we’re at–the projection of the clingings of our minds. Ram Dass
  • ProjectionLife is a mirror

… a projection of their own reality, beliefs and ways of seeing the world that has very little to do with you …

  • No, I don’t take it personally. Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me. Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothings others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Don’t take other people’s negativity personally. Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.  What they say and do is a projection of their own reality – their own attitude.  Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you.  Remember, what others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self- reflection.  Marc and Angel Chernoff
  • In the same way, whatever you feel and do is just a projection of your own personal dream, a reflection of your own agreements. What you say, what you do, and the opinions you have are according to the agreements you have made — and these opinions have nothing to do with me. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • BeliefReality

… especially when it comes to criticism, blame and praise

  • Compliments and criticism are all ultimately based on some form of projection. Billy Corgan
  • I’ve learned to see that someone’s criticism (or praise) is just a projection of what’s going on with them, so I’m less attached to other people’s opinions of me. Brian Johnson
  • CriticismBlaming

What others say and do is often an expression of their pain and not a statement about you

  • The ultimate goal is to become strong enough internally that even when someone is actively saying: “You are responsible for this calamity;” “You are making my life miserable;” “Because of you this project failed;” “Our relationship is breaking up because you didn’t show up” – or any of a host of similar statements we are all afraid of hearing – we can still remember with utter clarity and poise that the person is speaking about themselves, they are telling us the extent of their pain, not a statement about ourselves. This is, simply, the only language and form available to most of us to express pain. Miki Kashtan, Ph.D.
  • Pain

Nothing other people do and say is because of you; it is because of them

  • Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • People will love you, people will hate you, and none of it will have anything to do with you. Abraham-Hicks
  • When someone is doing or saying something to you, it is about THEM not you or ME. It’s about THEM. Carol Chanel
  • Try not to take things personally. What people say about you is a reflection of them not you.

What others think of you is their problem

  • It is not important to me what you think about me, and I don’t take what you think personally…. I dont have the need to be accepted. I dont have the need to have someone tell me, ” Miguel you are great”… Whatever you think, whatever you feel is your problem not my problem. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • What anybody thinks about you, or says about you, is really about them. Don Miguel Ruiz

What others think of you is their business, not yours

  • What other people think of me is none of my business. Wayne Dyer
  • Don’t regard what anyone says of you, for this, after all, is no concern of yours. Epictetus
  • What other people think of you is not your business. If you start to make that business your business, you wil be offended for the rest of your life.  Deepak Chopra

Pay little attention to the opinions people have of you


Therefore, don’t take anything that people say and do personally

  • Write this agreement on paper and put it on your refrigerator to remind you all the time: Don’t take anything personally. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • “Don’t take things personally” means you should not let other people’s comments, actions, attitudes, opinions or choices affect how you feel about yourself or your life, even if they are a direct and personal attack. Kim Giles

Recognise that people’s opinions of you are only opinions and not facts

  • Your high opinion of me is your opinion only. Any moment you may change it. Why attach importance to opinions, even your own? Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • Whatever people think of you is really about the image they have of you, and that image isn’t you. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • But other people’s reactions and opinions are simply other people’s reactions and opinions. They are having their own experience and none of it has anything to do with you – it does not make you wrong, guilty, bad, unworthy, famous, loveable, or important. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Realize that rejection is a person’s opinion. You must be able to accept that person’s opinion as opinion and not fact.
  • An issue many people experience in life is that they allow other people’s opinions to influence how they see themselves. We make the mistake of accepting the judgment of others as an absolute truth. Do not grant others the power to define who you are or how you feel about yourself; this is something you need to remain in control of. Ashley Fern
  • OpinionFactsReality

Taking things personally is selfishly thinking everything is about you

  • Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.” Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Selfishness

Pay little attention to the opinions people have of you …

  • Don’t let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you’re crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you’re lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you’re greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn’t understand. Robert G. Allen
  • Worrying what others think

… and don’t even take your own opinions of yourself personally

  • Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally. Don Miguel Ruiz

Don’t take rejection personally

  • It’s important to understand that most of the time when you are rejected it’s not you who is really being rejected. It’s just the person on the other end has reasons not to get involved with you at that moment. Niel Patel
  • Not everyone is always going to like what you do. Your job application, your book proposal, your offer of marriage is going to get rejected sometimes – perhaps often. Your boss, your spouse, even the person behind you in the supermarket checkout line is occasionally going to think that you are doing it all wrong.  Don’t take it personally.  Jonathan Lockwood Huie
  • Realize that rejection is a person’s opinion. You must be able to accept that person’s opinion as opinion and not fact.
  • Recognize that many rejections are rarely personal. They usually reflect more about the other person and how the request doesn’t meet his/her needs, than about you. By taking yourself out of the equation, you’ll realize a lot of your emotional responses with the rejection are unnecessary. Celestine Chua
  • Rejection

Don’t take lies personally

  • Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid. They are afraid you will discover that they are not perfect. It is painful to take that social mask off. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Lying

Don’t even take compliments and praise personally

  • It is not important to me what you think about me, and I don’t take what you think personally. I don’t take it personally when people say, “Miguel, you are the best,”and I also don’t take it personally when they say, “Miguel, you are the worst.” Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • If you base your self-worth on how often people compliment and validate you, then you’re allowing others to decide how you feel about yourself. If someone compliments you, it’s no more personal than a direct insult. They’re simply calling it how they see it, and that may or may not be accurate–only you can be the judge of that. If someone compliments you, that doesn’t make you a better person, it makes them a better person because they’re taking the time to be supportive and encouraging. Your value remains unchanged, because it’s something that comes from within. Levien Neelman
  • If you’re hooked by the compliments, you’re hooked by the criticism. You need to get to a place where both credit and criticism can’t touch you. Levie Neelman

Stop being so sensitive

  • You must let go of wanting approval and you must stop being so sensitive. Karl Moore
  • Stop being so darn sensitive – and stop wanting approval. Karl Moore

The rewards of not taking things personally


Not taking things personally brings great personal freedom


Not taking things personally makes you immune to being hurt by careless comments

  • When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Don Miguel Ruiz

Not taking things personally makes you immune from emotional poison

  • A lot of people dump poison, anger, resentment and criticism. Do not take it personally.  Just smile, wave and wish them well. Joel Osteen
  • You become immune to black magicians, and no spell can affect you regardless of how strong it may be. The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune. Someone can intentionally send emotional poison, and if you don’t take it personally, you will not eat it. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Taking things personally makes you an easy prey for predators. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up. You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity to the poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement. Don Miguel Ruiz

Not taking things personally can greatly improve your relationships

  • Nothing that your partner does is personal. Your partner is dealing with her own garbage. If you don’t take it personally, it will be so easy for you to have a wonderful relationship with your partner. Miguel Ruiz
  • Not taking it personally allows you to be in relationship with anyone and not get trapped in their stuff. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Principles for healthy relationships

Not taking things personally allows you to be more open and loving

  • If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need. You can say yes, or you can say no — whatever you choose — without guilt or self- judgment. You can choose to follow your heart always. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • OpennessLove

Not taking things personally brings you greater equanimity and peace

  • Equanimity allows for choices in how we perceive and interpret the world around us, choosing to take trivial matters less personally, letting them affect us less deeply, so we can live lighter. We understand on a fundamental level that life is an unpredictable, surprising and challenging journey. Danielle Robinson
  • EquanimityInner peace

Not taking things personally prevents suffering and negative emotions

  • When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don’t take things personally. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • SufferingEmotions

Not taking things personally allows you to listen to criticism without resentment


Not taking things personally comes from knowing yourself and trusting yourself …

  • As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • It does not affect me because I know what I am. I don’t have the need to be accepted. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • If there is no truth behind their attack, you must develop a thicker skin so you can stay in a place of truth, love and peace no matter what anyone says or does around you. You must be able to hold on to the truth about who you are and not let anyone take it from you. Kim Giles
  • You must know who you are and let that truth override everything else. If you own the truth about who you are, what other people think is irrelevant. Kim Giles
  • Introspection and giving yourself adequate time to get know yourself is also key to not taking things personally. You know your strengths and weaknesses, you know the things that you need to change and the things that you do well. When you know yourself better than anyone, you have clarity about whether the statements people make are honestly about you or are really, just about them. In the wisdom of introspection, you’ll find that what most people say reveal who they are, not who they think others are. Kovie Biakolo
  • Self-knowledgeTrust

… and accepting yourself, warts and all

  • This process seemed miraculous to me. So I made a list of all the parts of myself I didn’t like, and worked on finding the gifts in them. As soon as I was able to see the positive and the negative value of each aspect of myself, I was able to drop my defensiveness and allow these parts to exist freely. It became clear that the process was not about getting rid of things we dislike in ourselves, but about finding the positive side of these aspects and integrating it into our lives. Debbie Ford
  • Self-acceptance

Not taking things personally requires healing your wounds

  • Heal your wounds. Then the things people say and do won’t hurt you. Carol Chanel
  • You may even tell me, “Miguel, what you are saying is hurting me.” But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Here’s a big secret about how to not take things personally. Work on yourself to heal your wounds. As we heal, then we can see that other people have wounds that cause them to act or react in all sorts of ways. Often we can’t SEE the other person if our wounds are too tender. They inadvertently hit a raw spot and we react from the pain. Carol Chanel
  • Healing

Not taking things personally means letting go of personal guilt

  • Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness. Audre Lorde
  • Letting goGuilt

Not taking things personally requires letting go of any sense of victimhood

  • You are not a victim of anyone’s behavior or words. If we feel like victims, then everything will feel personal. And sometimes people are invested in being victims – it’s a pattern of behavior that is familiar even if it isn’t pleasant. To change the victim thought process takes time, a major shift in perspective and not judging yourself when you are working through it.  Carol Chanel
  • Victims may be defensive, submissive, over-accommodating to others, passive- aggressive in conflict, dependent on others for self- worth, overly sensitive, even manipulative. They’re often angry, resentful, and envious, feeling unworthy or ashamed about their circumstances. Have you ever felt or acted this way? David Emerald
  • Victim mentality

Not taking things personally means asking questions, learning the lessons, admitting any faults and leaving the rest

  • Defensiveness rises from assumptions about the unknown that are believed to be true. Before jumping to conclusions, ask questions to clarify where others’ actions, inactions, or inquiries are coming from. If you really put an effort into this, you will find that it has nothing to do with you. Catherine Chen, Ph.D.
  • You should always be willing to take a look at yourself and honestly assess if there is any truth to what they say. If there is truth, you may want to learn from this, commit to do better, and then let go of the offense because holding on to it won’t serve anyone. Kim Giles
  • What about those times when a small part of you can acknowledge that something someone said just might be true, but you were overreacting to the way they said it. Can you respect the truth of their words while disregarding their attitude? In other words, can you take it seriously, but not personally? Elayne Savage, Ph.D.
  • So we admit our faults, and we stop labelling them faults. We have to get over narcissistic sensitivity. All negative reactions are not caused from outside; it’s how we choose. The way to become bulletproof is to own anything that seems a fault. The way to overcome the ego’s reaction to that is to say, “I’m stupid and ugly. It doesn’t matter; God loves me. David R. Hawkins
  • QuestionsLearning

Not taking things personally means letting go of defensiveness and a need to always be in the right

  • Being right, defending our positions, takes an enormous amount of mental energy and often alienates us from the people in our lives. Needing to be right – or needing someone else to be wrong – encourages others to become defensive, and puts pressure on us to keep defending. Richard Carlson
  • Once you have disidentified from your mind, whether you are right or wrong makes no difference to your sense of self at all, so the forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious need to be right, which is a form of violence, will no longer be there. You can state clearly and firmly how you feel or what you think, but there will be no aggressiveness or defensiveness about it. Your sense of self is then derived from a deeper and truer place within yourself, not from the mind. Eckhart Tolle
  • The great advantage of openness-to-learning is that you’re in charge of it at all times. You can choose to shift out of defensiveness into genuine curiosity at any moment. Gay & Katie Hendricks
  • I stopped hating and started just being. My whole life, I had been the most defensive person you’d meet, unable to tolerate any criticism. But now I started listening and being. Anthony Kiedis
  • Completely desist from defending your point of view. When you have no point to defend, you do not allow the birth of an argument. If you do this consistently — if you stop fighting and resisting — you will fully experience the present, which is a gift. Deepak Chopra
  • The need to be right

Not taking things personally requires …


Not taking things personally requires letting go of the ego

  • You need your ego to survive in the three-dimensional world, but you need only that part of the ego which processes information. The rest – pride, arrogance, defensiveness, fear – is worse than useless. The rest of the ego separates you from wisdom, joy, and God. Brian L. Weiss
  • Transcending the ego

Not taking things personally requires being less sensitive to negativity and disapproval

  • Are you a SNIOP? Someone who is Sensitive to the Negative Influence Of Others? Zig Ziglar
  • Sensitive souls draw in the negativity of others because they are so open. John Gray
  • Stop being so darn sensitive – and stop wanting approval. Karl Moore
  • CriticismNegativity

Not taking things personally requires letting go of the need to collude

  • Let’s say you perceive a situation as negative. For example, a friend chose to spend the evening with someone else instead of you or you received a curt e- mail from your boss. You’re hurt. What do you do? One reaction that is temporarily soothing is to call someone, unload your hurt and anger, and get them hooked into your story. This is a big energy investment and utterly not worth it. Inviting others to collude in your story only perpetuates the pattern of taking things much too personally. Collusion is rounding up individuals who believe your own illusion. Not good! Levien Eelman

Final thoughts


If you want to let the person know how you are feeling, do it with sincerity, integrity and kindness

  • Use “I Messages”. Simply put, if you start a sentence off with “You”, it comes off as more of a judgment or attack, and puts people on the defensive. If you start with “I”, the focus is more on how you are feeling and how you are affected by their behavior. Also, it shows more ownership of your reactions, and less blame. Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Reduce the chance of others taking what you say personally by communicating in a loving way and being considerate of the feelings of others

  • It is not nearly so important how well a message is received as how well it is sent. You cannot take responsibility for how well another accepts your truth; you can only ensure how well it is communicated. And by how well, I don’t mean merely how clearly; I mean how lovingly, how compassionately, how sensitively, how courageously, and how completely. Neale Donald Walsch
  • Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.  Emily Post
  • CommunicationLove