“It’s not personal.” That is what people always say when they are about to do something that hurts you in order to benefit themselves. “It’s not personal,” they says as they treat you unfairly as though you are not as valuable as they are. Truth be told, that is actually kind of personal. It’s as though they are saying that you are not as valuable as they are, that they are justified in being selfish because they are worth it and you are not.
For a long time, I had this idea that I should never take anything personal. I have the type of personality where I can shrug off an insult with relative ease. I can take a slap to the face and walk away with a smile. But, I’ve taken a closer look at that way of thinking—is that really the right response? When people wrong us, isn’t it the natural response to be offended. Is that really wrong. Is it wrong to feel wronged when we have been wronged? When I word the question that way, it sounds obvious. Why would it be wrong to feel wronged when we have been wronged. If we slam our fingers in the door, we feel pain, why is this any different? The simple answer is, it’s not.
When we don’t allow ourselves to take things personal, we step away from one aspect of what it means to be human. We accept attacks and don’t allow ourselves the instinctive reflex that is meant to protect us.
Let me explain what I mean by that. When we deny ourselves the courtesy of taking things personal, we are not dealing with the wound. When someone hurts us, we are hurt. Ignoring the hurt won’t heal the wound. We need to face the pain—take it personally. When we accept the fact that we have been wronged and take it personally, we are acknowledging the fact that we are human, that we have the ability to feel and be hurt. We realize that we are hurt and that matters because we matter. It’s showing ourselves respect.
Although that is the main point that I was trying to make, I should mention that we don’t have the right to hold grudges and become bitter. We need to acknowledge the wound, and then forgive those who inflicted it or else the wound will never heal but grow worse and worse, perhaps even becoming infected and spreading. So, feel pain, and then forgive. Take things personally, but then forgive the person.