My own personal ego tripping activates hard on this one. Initially, I take offense to a great deal that people say to me. Whether they are someone I know well or not. I question over and over what people mean by what they say. One thing I don’t consider very often: Maybe they don’t mean anything by it…especially not anything offensive.

Sometimes people just say things because ideas come into their brain and then they put sounds to those ideas creating words. Sometimes, they don’t think much about it. Not everyone has a filter. I lose the ability to filter on a regular basis. So, to me, the most tolerant thing to do to is extend this same understanding of myself to others.

Not everything should be taken personally

You have no idea what’s going on with other people. You can’t be in anyone else’s brain, ever. You don’t know their past experiences, traumas, or true ideas about you, so take what they say, respond to it, and leave it there. This is especially true when it’s someone close to you and they’re in a panic, freak out, full of fear, absolutely negative zone. Your best move in this situation is to listen and not take things personally. Stay on your “side of the street”, and keep your “side of the street” clean. You don’t need to clean up their side of the street for them, or vice versa. That shit just don’t work.

Moreover, when I have allowed myself to be dragged into the panic, fear, anxiety, absolutely negative zone because I’m witnessing it happening in someone close to me, nothing good has ever happened after. My sibling or friend or, most commonly, significant other is expressing real genuine fears, some of which revolve around me, but aren’t directly related to me or are things I can’t solve/do much about. I’ve let myself be dragged into that zone and my ego gets bruised. Then that person’s honest confession in which they were essentially trying to ask for HELP, has now been made ALL ABOUT ME and how my feelings were hurt by their honesty. And, maybe it wasn’t even their honesty that was talking, maybe it was fear. It doesn’t matter what it was now, because I’ve sent a signal that they can’t open up to me that deeply because their raw truth will hurt me. I’ve just shut the door on an avenue to help someone close to me.

Luckily, I’ve gotten better about this. That used to be my reaction to anyone who I felt attacked or confronted by, especially a significant other. I could listen until I perceived attack, then I’d be on the defensive and there was no going back. I can tell you it’s a great way to ruin relationships, so if that’s your goal….

Now, I have an internal dialogue/mental conversation with myself/ego before I respond….and sometimes that’s in the middle of a sentence. So, it comes out as these long somewhat awkward pause stammer-pause-retract a few articles of what I said without saying an actual sentence-pause-say out loud, “no I don’t want to say that”-pause-exasperated gasp-sort of say a complete sentence that is sensitive to what I’ve just heard, while also bringing up my perception of what was just said if it could be offensive to me.

Progress not perfection, right?