“Don’t take it personally- a common phrase heard throughout life. While this is usually used as a way to keep from offending someone’s character, there is the practice of thinking we are responsible for certain things that we have no control over. This is known as “personalization.”
Personalization can come in many different forms and situations. In our personal life, this can happen in the relationships and friendships you have with friends, family, acquaintances, or even strangers. For professional life, situations with your work and coworkers can trigger personalization.
According to Psychology Today, human beings are social creatures, and therefore can be dependent on others for certain emotions. Therefore, it isn’t unusual to be there for someone in a friendship or relationship, but there are times when personalization can come into play. Here are a few tips on how to address it in your personal life.
Know when to set boundaries.
Friendships are important to life and being there for a friend is part of it. It’s possible to become so close to someone that when a situation or mishap happens to them it can make you feel like you are personally responsible. But, it’s also possible that the situation could be caused by something that isn’t even connected to you, such as another friend or the individual’s own decisions. Becoming too personally invested into someone else’s life can negatively impact your own life and decisions. If you find that this is happening to you with a friend or family member, it might be a good idea to take a step back and evaluate how much you are involved in their lives. It might be a tough call, but taking care of oneself is just as important.
Identify possible causes of personalization.
Are there certain times or situations when you find yourself thinking of all the ways you might have caused it or how you might mess something up? If so, identify these situations and think of the reason you might be inserting personalization into them. Could it be from a past experience or being unfamiliar with the territory? Addressing this can help you go into the situation with a different way of thinking. If you’re unsure of how to do this, talking to a trusted friend, family member or a professional can give you the guidance needed.
Turning to our professional life, personalization can take on several forms in the workplace. Here are a couple of tips to keep it from affecting your work ethic and attitude.
Put things into perspective.
Rejection is one of the most frustrating parts of professional life and can seem like the end of the world, especially if it’s for the dream job that you’ve wanted for years. One way to look at this is to put it into perspective of the big picture. Companies often receive hundreds if not thousands of applications from people all over the world, and are faced with tough decisions on how to evaluate the best candidate for the job. Sometimes it’s even a computer that makes the choice for them. Realizing that the decision is not about you as a person but rather experience can help you move forward and maybe even find something better out there. The same can be said about a number of situations throughout our lives.
Turn criticism into something constructive.
Tying into rejection, criticism is a similar aspect that can cause frustration and make us question whether we did something wrong. But realize that this is not an attack on your character. Another way to view it is to think of how you might do something differently. Thinking outside the box can help foster new ideas and even improve the way of doing certain things.
Realize that you can’t control everything.
This can apply to both personal and professional life. In the end, it’s impossible to control what other people think, act or say and even what happens in the world. Life is a whole bunch of uncontrolled events, and while it may seem scary, having an open mind can help you navigate it.