"If you are a person, it's always personal."
— James McPartland
Have you ever been told not to take something personal? Perhaps you have heard "it's not personal, it's just business". But let’s think about this. If you are passionate about what you do, putting your heart and soul into creating something special, and even taking a bit of a risk in expressing yourself through your craft, can you really just shrug your shoulders when receiving criticism?
Actually, to not take it personal is to miss a huge opportunity for growth.
We are all affected by (and can often obsess about) a negative statement, rude comment, snide remark, disrespectful email, even a perceived eye roll. As people, we tend to take these things personally. But why is that? Could it be that we consciously (or unconsciously) agree with it? Might it be that this type of feedback connects us to our greatest fears? Is it providing us with evidence of our own beliefs and theories about who we are and what we’re capable of?
Without realizing it, we frequently repeat the same mistakes over and over again in our lives. A heightened sense of awareness and a willingness to truly grasp why the phrase is "growing pains" and not "growing pleasures", can open us up to see our patterns and figure out the lessons we’re supposed to learn.
Like hunting for ghosts, uncovering what haunts us brings truth to our current (and most likely inaccurate) translation of our life and the events that have comprised it. Taking things personal can enable a process whereby we can grow up, move on, and rescript our narrative.
How invested are you in keeping your ghosts alive? What happens when you find out that the boogeyman in the closet is only an invention, one that has kept you scared and one that pushes you to play it safe?
Slaying a ghost is like releasing your own victim and is a powerful step toward rewriting your personal story – your autobiography. It is at this exact moment that the "who" we have always thought ourselves to be, can change, rewire, and release us to live into our new life.
One way we can turn a ghost into an ancestor is to identify a past event, the key person involved, and the benefits we stand to gain from revisiting history in order to rewrite our future.
Follow the process outlined below:
* Consider multiple events (or incidents) before choosing one to practice your ghost busting skills on.
* Describe it in 3-5 sentences.
* Identify and write down any patterns or themes that you see about yourself and your life.
* Then take these next 5 steps:
1) Appreciate yourself and recognize your own courage to take back power in your life.
2) Contact the key person, letting them know you are on a personal growth quest and that you are truly grateful for their participation.
3) Let the person know the topic and ask if they’d be willing to share their version of the story once you share yours.
do not justify or defend your version
simply acknowledge their version with a thank you
let them know that in your quest for truth, you are simply fact-finding
4) Remind the person that you are not looking for fault, trying to be right, or looking to cast blame.
5) Be courageous in sharing that you’ve been carrying stories that may not be true, and that are holding you back. Thank them again for their help.
As you go down this path of clearing ghosts from your closet, set yourself up to win. Choose an incident that will help you build momentum and make this a win-win for all parties involved. Courageously confronting what we take personal (the ghosts) enables us to see that we are the very source of change in our own life. We can recognize ourselves for stepping up and come to discover that taking responsibility to change ourselves sets the record straight and in the end, truly does change us.