I dropped a box of 500 Q-tips on my bathroom floor.
500 is a lot of Q-tips.
Those suckers can jump! They were everywhere. As I was picking them up, 500 times, I was reminded of something that I learned from a co-worker over a decade ago. She kept a Q-tip at her desk. One day I asked about it and she explained that it reminded her to: Quit Taking It Personal.
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. It is a personal struggle that will be a lifelong battle for me. I think that’s why God/universe/karma made sure I dropped 500 Quit Taking It Personals on the floor; so that I could think about it for a good long 5 minutes of clean up!
Many times, when someone is just going about their life, I choose to take their actions or words personally and create a lot of drama and agony where it didn’t need to exist. Meanwhile, the other person is completely unaware that I am waging a war against them in my own head. Living in a technology driven world where most people are on Facebook lends itself to hurt feelings and feelings of being left out. People love to post where they are, with whom, and that they are having a great time. Why wasn’t I invited? Do they not like me? They didn’t invite me to that breakfast/lunch/party/event? Fine, they hate me. I hate them too then! Pause for a minute. Deep breath. Think this through. Very often I am invited, just not everytime. I’ve also noticed that most of the time these get togethers are a spur-of-the-moment plan and the people present when the plans are laid out are the ones who are included. Not everything is personal. My life is much happier when I stop adding a hidden agenda or negativity to others’ actions. Q.T.I.P.
One of the biggest battlegrounds for taking things personally is when others are expressing their own personal opinions. If you love vanilla and someone tells you that they just ate the BEST chocolate cupcake do you fret for days about how stuck-up they are about chocolate and spend hours defending that your favorite is vanilla? No. Then why do we do that when someone is expressing love for their church, school, child, car, or countless other examples. Yes, there are times that every one of us is guilty of being a braggart, but I really think that it is much more often that someone is just enjoying their opinions and life and it is the rest of us that take it personal.
If someone is excitedly telling me about his new phone/car/trophy I can turn it into a battle in my brain thinking that it’s a challenge or statement about me, or, I can choose to Q.T.I.P. We need to remember that when someone else is showing off a sassy little convertable, or her new Louis Vuitton handbag, or talking about how he just ran a marathon, chances are good that they aren’t comparing themselves to me. Chances are good that they don’t even remember what I drive or what I do, they are just excited about their own joys in life. If I let my jealousy start making it personal… well, I deserve to pick up 500 Q-tips off the bathroom floor.
When a mom is commenting on how great her child did at his sporting event, or how awesome his grades are, she isn’t making a statement about MY child. She isn’t thinking about MY child at all! If I get my panties in a bunch thinkin, “She thinks her kid’s poop don’t stink? Well, grrrrrr…” This is MY problem. All of us that are parents are miracle workers. We made and are raising little tiny people! We can share in each other’s joys without turning it into a competition. Your children can be amazing at running while mine run like turtles through mud and guess what? They are still equally amazing and equally loved little miracles. Q.T.I.P.
If someone makes a sharp answer to my question, or clearly is wearing their grumpy-pants, I don’t have to go looking for a fight. I can learn to let it be their problem. Maybe they have a struggle I don’t know about. Maybe their grumpy-pants cause wedgies. Not every person who looks at you is thinking negative thoughts. Not every person who made a mistake driving did it just to piss you off. Not every post on Facebook is about you. Not every action of others is a call for an overreaction of yours. Q.T.I.P.
My challenge to myself: Carry a Q-tip in my purse. Put one on my desk. Learn to make jewelry out of them (I’m sure there is something on Pinterest about this.) Set one where I’m most likely to see it multiple times a day (wine glass? No, no, just kidding… maybe…) and really start to think about when I’m creating non-existant drama for myself just because I am choosing to take things personally. My challenge is to learn this for myself so that I can start to teach it to my children. I now have about 500 non-sterile Q-tips…. anyone else want a few to start taking this challenge with me?