Too often, human beings take things personally and let that impact the way they feel and act. But some great advice we’ve learned over the years is to not take things personally. It will make you more successful and happier.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: So, it’s really important to give our listeners advice that will, you know, help all of them be successful. And I think that’s kind of the point of the show, right? We do a lot of different things. We do history, we talk about the law, we talk about current events and what that means for, you know, the Constitution. But we also talk about just good advice because all these things combined is how we find out how the world works or the way the world works, which is the name of this podcast. So, Connor has a great book that is, what is it? Tips for Teens, I believe it’s called, if you have not checked out, check out this book. Yes, it’s the book I wish I had when I was younger. I would have been set up for success way more than I was going to public school and all that stuff. So please definitely check it out. But today I wanna talk about one of the chapters and kind of reflect on our own experiences. So here is some today’s great piece of life advice, and that’s why you shouldn’t take things personally or you, I guess that’s kind of a, well, that’s a question why you shouldn’t take things personally. So at some point in your life, you’re going to encounter unpleasant people who say unpleasant things to you and make you sad, or make you angry, or make you feel really bad about, you know, anything. And I think, one of the biggest examples of this is maybe encountering a bully. You know, you get picked on, I know Connor talks about in his book some really, you know, experiences where he was picked on and, and I think he even says he was thrown in trash cans by bully sometimes, which is just so terrible. But, you know, we think about this as like, why are they doing this to me? Taking it personally, but in reality, why does somebody treat somebody badly, right? They treat somebody badly because something is going on in their own life, right? It’s not actually about you, which is, it’s really sad because even though it’s not about you, they’ve made it about you. Yeah. And that’s why, you know, things we’ve talked about in so many episodes are that you have to be in control of your emotions because you can’t control what someone does to you, but you can control how you respond to that thing. So I think this is a really good example. I mean, I have so many examples of having bullies, girls can be very mean in public school at least. Yeah. Oh man. And I’ve dealt, even as grownups I’ve dealt with, I think most of my bullies have actually been other women or other girls. So, that’s been, that’s not pleasant, but, So, you know, in, in elementary school or junior high, a lot of girls will say like, oh, she’s ugly. Oh, she’s fat. And you feel really bad about yourself, and you start thinking about yourself in terms of the things they say. And I remember feeling like, oh my goodness, am I ugly? You know, all this stuff because people were saying such horrible things to me. And then as I got older, and I can look back on these things, and I think my mom probably told me this when I was a kid, but it was harder to understand then you realize that people who make fun of other people, especially like someone’s physical appearance, they’re dealing with their own self-confidence issues, right? Yeah. They’re dealing with the fact that they don’t feel confident with their appearance, or maybe like their parents say that to them, right? Maybe their parents at home are being really mean to them about the way they look. And so they’re taking that out on you because they feel so badly about it that they have to get their anger out in other people. And again, that goes back to controlling your emotions, right? Because they also can’t change, you know, what happens to them, but they can, you know, they can control how they react and what they do to others. And unfortunately, a lot of people bully other people, and. Yeah. It’s sad and it won’t stop. It goes right into your adult years. And I know I’ve dealt with that at work even where people bully, like, coworkers will bully you. And a lot of times it’s because they’re worried you’re doing a better job. They’re worried that like their job is threatened, right? So again, it comes from a place of not necessarily like they hate you, it’s that they’re worried or they’re doubting themselves. But the thing is, we never know someone’s motives and we can’t really assume why they’re doing something to us. So the best, you know, advice I think Connor hits the nail on the head in this book is just try not to take it personally. It isn’t necessarily about you. So Emma, do you have any examples?

Emma: Yeah, gosh, I mean, yeah, what you said about school really hit home with me. I, for some background, I was homeschooled for a while as a kid. I also went to private school for a while, like a really, really small private school where I had five other kids in my grade. So I grew up in a pretty different environment than public school. And then when I hit seventh grade, which middle school is already kind of a tough time, you know, people are.

Brittany: Yes, it is.

Emma: Changing and your friend groups are changing and just everyone’s kind of growing up and it’s just a tough time. And if any of you are listening right now in middle school, you know, trust me, it gets better. It does. But that was probably the hardest time of all of my school years. And I went from private school to public school in seventh grade.

Brittany: Ooh, that’s a rough kinda switch.

Emma: It is, I just kind of jumped in the deep end and I was so caught off guard by the school environment. I found it to be a lot more negative than the other school environments I had been in. There was not as much of a focus on learning, and it seemed like everyone only wanted to talk about, you know, gossip and clothes and, you know, picking on others, like you said, their appearances and that sort of thing. And I didn’t get picked on too much personally. I was pretty quiet. I kind of kept to myself, there would be the odd thing here or there that would hurt my feelings or, you know, my friends had their little tiffs and their little fights and stuff. But it’s, I did really, I was affected a lot by the negativity. I think of everything going on around me and hearing people constantly pick on each other made me think that they were thinking those negative things about me, even if they weren’t saying them to my face. And, you know, I would hear someone call someone else ugly or whatever behind their back and I would think, oh, are they saying that about me when I’m not here? And it made me really, really insecure where I had all sorts of problems with, you know, what I looked like or the clothes that I wore. And it made me just wanna be a totally different person, which looking back makes me really sad because before I went to public school, I felt pretty good about myself. I kinda knew who I was, I had my hobbies that I liked. And hearing that negativity was very tough. But I had to learn, you know, like we’re talking about today, not to take those things personally and not to project, you know, what other people may be thinking or behaving like onto myself. And kind of learning to just let it roll off my back and choose not to engage in that kind of thinking or in that kind of behavior. And I found that the more kind I was to others, the more kind I was able to be to myself, where if I wasn’t, you know, choosing to gossip about, you know, what someone looks like or what they were to school that day or whatever it may be, it made me feel less insecure about myself because it made me think less about, well, what are other people saying about me? So this isn’t as much a story about me being bullied and picked on. That certainly happened a few times, you know, I think everyone goes through that at one point or another. But I think it’s, really important to remember that everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has their own stuff that they’re going through, whether or not they talk about it openly. And you know, like we’ve said, it’s, we never know for sure why someone acts the way that they act. But I think most of the time when someone is being a bully or when someone is, you know, harming others, whether it’s with words or physically, that it’s typically coming from their own problems that they are dealing with. And it’s a negative way of them sort of dealing with it. And I think learning that and just, you know, being aware of that can help you not take things as personally and realize, hey, the way that this person is treating me has a lot more to do with them than it does with me. And you can kind of leave it at that. You don’t need to wonder a lot of times wondering about or even speculating, like, well, maybe their parents are like this or maybe they’re being bullied themselves. You know, maybe that can help you rationalize a little bit, but it’s not really necessary.

Brittany: That’s a good point, Emma.

Emma: That’s, why I really like how Connor says this just don’t take it personally. We don’t really know, and we never really know what other people are going through. And sometimes speculating, like you said, Brittany is not always the best idea. But also I think, you know, there’s another element to this where people are trying to help you actually improve yourself. So, you know, sometimes things that you could take personally are coming from like a bully figure or someone at school, but sometimes they’re coming from people that love you and that are actually giving you good advice. And this is something that I have dealt with a lot where it’s not always fun to hear. No. Someone that you look up to say, Hey, you’re doing this wrong, or, Hey, this behavior is not good for you, or, this thing that you said was destructive. And that’s like, especially if you maybe don’t love answering to authority, that’s a really hard thing to hear, and especially if it’s someone that you look up to and love, it’s just, it’s so easy to be sensitive about that and take things personally. And I’ve really had, as an adult to learn how to take that constructive criticism as a good thing. And, you know, I’m a Christian and I love reading scripture and there’s a proverb that I love that talks about how a wise person loves correction, but a fool hates being guided or corrected or something like that. I just read it the other day. but there’s a lot of verses actually in the Bible about that, where it’s like, if you are wise and if you’re seeking to improve yourself and be better, you love when people correct you and when people help you because it helps you be a better person. But if you just reject that and say, oh, they’re just hating on me. They just don’t like who I am, you’re never gonna be able to learn and grow from that. So, that’s kind of another element that I see in this tip that Connor has.

Brittany: Yeah, and that’s a harder one because again, it is a personal like a critic, it is saying like, okay, you need to transit, but it’s not saying you are a bad person, it’s not saying like. Yeah. Oh, you know, at your core you’re a bad person. You know, it’s just saying like, Hey, this behavior, hey, this act wasn’t good. Or even, you know, like, let me help you become better. So, it’s actually like a really good thing. But it’s taken me a really long time to get good at that because I think, especially early on in my career and in school, you know, if somebody offers you one piece of advice you can get like, well so I’m terrible at this, or you hate me, like, this is something wrong. And it’s like, no, it’s not about hating you. It’s not about, you know, it’s about, it comes from a place of love. I want you to make sure that, you know, you can get better or improve at anything. So I think this is such great advice and like I said, I wish a book like this had been around when I was a kid. Cause I think I’d have a lot. I still read it too. I’m an adult and I still read it and I’m like, oh, Connor makes good points. Yeah. So, oh, totally. Yeah. So I dunno if you have any closing thoughts, but I think that’s all I wanted to talk about today.

Emma: Yeah, I think there’s something for everyone to glean from this book. So even if you’re not a teenager, maybe you’re a pre-teen or maybe you’re a parent. Lots of good knowledge in here from Connor’s, you know, crazy life and lots of good stories and little tidbits like this. But yeah, let things roll off your back, don’t take things too personally. That’s always a good little piece of advice. Easier said than done too. I’ll say it’s an everyday choice you have to make. But we will wrap it up here today, guys. Thank you so much for listening and we will talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.