It's Nothing Personal: Why You Need To Stop Thinking The World Is Out To Get You

by Susy Alexandre

I was recently liberated by a concept that, in fact, I've always opposed.

It's not personal!

I hated this motto. I resented the idea that some exchange, some communication, some transfer of energy between people -- between living, breathing people -- could ever be diluted down to just that. An exchange with no personal implications, no underlying emotions, no real personal element.

I agreed that in some situations, this was indeed possible. Getting bad news from the impartial middle man, construction happening on your route to work when you're running late -- some things just happen, and in the way the world works, find a way to affect us.

But still, it always feels personal, doesn't it? I mean, it's happening to you, in your life, in the middle of your day, clawing its way into your head and keeping you up at night. How is that not personal?

So, you go through life, taking it all in, absorbing everything as either a personal nod to your existence or a personal blow to your sense of self -- no in-between. One way or another, it comes at you and always feels very, very personal.

I was feeling at my limit. It was one of those days where you take stock on your level of sanity and find you are speeding on an empty tank with no station in sight.

The good, the bad, the ugly; I had been internalizing everything happening around me, subconsciously feeling it all on a very personal level.

It's not that I am so self-absorbed that I assume everything is about me. No, it's more that inability to detach my logical self from my emotional self and see that, really, it's not that personal.

Luckily for me, I found myself sitting across the table from my salvation: someone who usually appears when called on, and always tells me exactly what I don't want to hear, exactly when I need to hear it.

You're letting it all get to your head. It's really not that personal -- and if it is, screw it. Pretend it's not and push forward. You're stronger than that. And if you're not that strong, pretend you are and push forward anyway. Numb it out.

Numb it out? Not my forte, but maybe there was something to it. Learning to take things as they come and simply pushing past them.

All of this time, I had been making mountains out of moments and forcing myself to scale each one before I could move forward, exhausted and weaker than the climb before.

In the last week, I've made a conscious effort to take it all in stride. Half of the time, I'm faking this so-called nonchalant adjustment to what comes my way, and the other half I think I'm actually just feeling less affected.

I still believe that you should want to feel everything in life, and that being numb to the world is no way to go about living in it. However, I've come to see that by being conscious of how we internalize things, we can take better control over what we feel and why we feel it.

Some people go about their days turning a blind eye to the moves they make, but keep focusing on the actions of others. We think the world is a stage where only we are on the playbill.

The truth is, we are all just extras in a film that remains untitled, unrated and, in all likelihood, we may never make it to the big screen.

I'm choosing to worry only about my lines and enjoy the hell out of the dress rehearsal. I suggest you do the same.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It