Here’s the scene: someone says a horrible – terrible – damn near evil (ok it was evil) thing. And it’s about you.
Or is it?
Well it seems to be about you. They said your name and everything. Direct eye contact. Finger pointing. Yep it was definitely about you.
Or was it?
Well if it wasn’t, then who was it about?
Good question. It was about them.
But…but…but…
Nothing. It was about them far more than it was about you.
Imagine being ok with (possibly even a bit grateful) for someone being rude.
I used to take things personally a whole lot more often than I do now. Yes I still get caught up in it from time to time but I can tell you I spend less time with hurt feelings than I used to. (Some of those close to me would say I was somewhat predisposed to have fewer hurt feeling for reasons ranging from I tend to be a bit {a lot} oblivious at times, to things far more unflattering – jerk, insensitive, ass, you get the picture.

Glasser had various concepts I find helpful when framing my worldview, but one of the most practical for me has been this idea that when interacting, humans are simply passing information back and forth. Yes there is emotion but that’s a type of information. Clothing choices are information. That little shoulder shrug or sideways smirk are different information. Word choice – information. Gesture – information. Not picking up the phone to call – information. Buying gifts to express affection – information.
Each aspect is information and the majority is about the speaker – actor – the other person. personal
Your response is the information about you. This is your character. Now often we excuse ourself from acting in the best way because of the information or presentation of the other person.
They were rude first. They were mean. They were…
They were giving you information.
What you do with it is your choice. It can be hard to step back and take in everything someone is communicating. The volume of information can be overwhelming. But when we can step back – give us and them some distance – we can make better responses. We can glimpse their reality and see where it lines up with and differs from our reality – our truth.
And so try to catch yourself when your feelings are hurt or you take something personal. Then see if you can set the feeling to the side for a little while and just look at the information the other person was sending.
Were they angry and you became a safe target. Were they confused and scared and trying to seem intimidating or strong. Were they offended by information you sent out and so were reacting out of hurt and taking something personal.

For the next 24 hours (a whole week if you want) before reacting to someone ask yourself ~ What is the information this person is giving me, and why are they giving it to me in this way?

Thanks as always.

With civility ~ Brian

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