Monday, May 16, 2011

Personalizing Other People's Problems

   Have you ever taken on someone's faults as your own? Really! I'm serious. Have you ever gotten caught up in someone's dilemma and you found that you were feeling stressed? This happens for a lot of CPAs during tax time, but it also happens, often times, in our relationships with friends and family.
   Have you ever been pulled into an argument between two other friends? It sucks! Both wanting you to side with them is a catastrophe waiting to happen. There are many recognizable situations that happen on a daily basis to send us over the proverbial edge when it comes to other people's problems, but why? The why is PERSONALIZATION.
   We often times connect to a present situation by being triggered from a situation in our past. In my new book, Breaking You in the World of I (due out June '11), I make it a point to the reader that anytime someone is angry or yelling about anything, then they are the one with a problem and not you. What I find is, many people take it personal when someone is angry or yelling at them. Why?
   Whenever someone is angry and yelling, it is 100% because they have been triggered by a situation that resembles a situation from their past. People don't get angry and yell if they don't have information from which to draw. As a short example: a man gets angry at his child for bringing home bad grades on his report card. If the man takes the time to view his emotional outburst (what triggered it), he will see; he has been triggered by his own past of failing. There is always a similar situation that can be recognized from one's past.
   Well, what should you do if you're the recipient of the anger or yelling? First off, there are two things to clarify. One is to just know that they have been triggered and since you are the one in the line of fire, then you are related to the triggering. Don't take it couldn't have known about their past. But, and this is a BIG BUT, now you know the trigger/button and you can push it at will. I don't suggest you do that!
   Second, do not personalize their anger as your fault. Sure, you may have helped with the trigger, but if that person doing the yelling had handled the situation when it first took place, in their past, they wouldn't have a trigger on that subject. Get it?
   Now, here we go. You triggered them and they are yelling in anger at you. Whatever emotion you start to display or feel, is now your chance to find what triggers you and what you haven't handled from your past. This is where we all get to play grown up and declare a TIME OUT.
   If you find that you can't handle being yelled at, then you need to start making better clarifications in regards to your daily living. Ask yourself why you can't stand it. Was there a lot of yelling in the house when you were a kid? How did you react back then? Were you assertive or did you back down? What emotion did you experience when someone yelled? Did you want to shy away? Do the research on how you handled your past and compare it to how you handle the present.
   The personalization of other people's problems is not the issue; you are not them. As a matter of fact, you can't personalize someone's problems, it's virtually impossible. You are personalizing your past problems and bringing them to the surface. It's at this time that you should always take a moment to reflect on what just happened and measure it to how you handled situations from your past. When you can begin to do that and make it a part of your "personal" healing, weight will be lifted from your shoulders and you will have a skip in your step.
   Is there a family member you are estranged from? Do you avoid Christmas with the family? Is there an unsettled dispute from years ago? When you want to get that skip back into your step, realize that things change and it's okay to let go of past personalization, that people will do what they do or have done and what they find fault with has absolutely nothing to do with you. It never has and it never will!

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