Book ExcerptsBrain InjuryFood for thoughtInspiration

When it’s Not Ours, We Can’t Take it Personally.

By May 18, 20164 Comments

Taking things personally is a tricky thing. While it may seem as though there are scads of things we should perceive to be criticisms and rejections, that list is actually very short. While I don’t have the stats on this, I’m confident to say that at least 93% of the time, when people are talking around us they’re not talking about us. It may feel like they are (and we all know what that is, right?).

Trust me. They couldn’t give a shit about you and me.

When my life was on pause – post-hospital release, living at my parents’ house, figuring out what on Earth I was doing in that space, let alone in the world – none of my people (friends, colleagues, comrades) seemed to be on hold. Note that I said seemed to be on hold. As far as I could tell (meaning, what I saw on social and heard from third parties), things were seven shades of awesome for everyone else.

They were getting pregnant, being promoted, moving to houses, getting married, and changing the world. I was learning to drive again. I was dating guys who were about as wrong for me as [a person who shall remain nameless] being elected President of the United States. It hurt me to learn this excellent and life-changing news from everything and everyone but them.

This hurt me so much that I began to tell myself the story that our friendships were disintegrating. I’ll get deeper into this in my book. Suffice it to say that when Brian Tracy said, “What we think is what we become,” he was for sure and certain correct.

Before your relationships turn into epic fails, remember this: them doing them has nothing to do with you.

Just because a friend doesn’t tell you personally about something important and meaningful it doesn’t mean that you’re intentionally not included. Their engagement, promotion, pregnancy, new house, move across the country, album release, book being published, TED talk, Awesomeness Fest attendance, and on and on have nothing to do with you. When it’s not ours, and we’re not the subject, we can’t take it personally.

Life occurs. Sometimes we actively participate, sometimes we witness. Whether we’re first string or on the bench, all that matters is that we are present. Sometimes we have to do the humble and say, “Hey, I’m really psyched that you are/you did/you won whatever it is. I can’t wait to hear about that. Tell me about it.”

Because it’s not us, it’s not them, and it’s not nobody. It’s all of us.


  • Asia Gregg says:

    “What we think is what we become.” I like that. If I’m going through a rough patch and find myself dropping into the frame of mind that everyone around me is leaving my loser ass in the dust, it helps me to watch a piece of stand up comedy where people talk about something bad or embarrassing that happened to them while telling it in a hilarious way. Helps me to remember that “One day, I’ll be able to look back and laugh about this.” Reminds me that I can reframe a subpar situation if I just can find the joke in it.

    • Kate Harvie says:

      I’m with you, Asia, on reframing via any means that make sense (which is different than any means necessary). Perspective is, for me anyway, what is missing when I feel myself about to freak out in response to someone’s statement or behavior.

      I now ask myself, “Did I say/do something to cause this?” The answer is generally “nope.” Whatever someone else says and does comes from them.
      As I like to say, “I’m intuitive, not psychic.”
      I choose now to trust that if I upset someone, they will tell me. This isn’t always the case (how meaningful, important is our relationship?). I now know better how to handle it when someone doesn’t communicate with me: their life is happening, my life is happening, and we will connect when it’s possible.
      Thanks for being you, Asia. The world is better for it.

  • Such powerful insights so beautifully communicated is a gift! Thank you Kate for your guidance, and for inspiring me to always put things in the proper perspective, stay anchored and be the best that I can be always.

Leave a Reply