Don’t take things personally
Updated: Nov 15, 2022
KC: When you don’t take things personally, it creates space for you and your partner to get the root of the problem quicker. Your partner won’t feel like they need to be calculated with their words, having to choose everything they say so precisely as to not upset you. That can be exhausting for both of you and prevent you from ever getting to the real issue. When things aren’t taken personally, you can be big for your partner to work through their insecurities. When you create this space, I guarantee you will come to see that the real issue has very little to do with you.
O: When you don’t take things personally, you have the freedom to not be a reaction and when you’re not an emotional reaction, you can hear what your partner is saying. Remember the fake-up, from lesson 1, when KC almost broke-up with me after only 3 months of dating because he was uncertain of our relationship? Well I prevented the fake-up just by listening to him and not taking his words personally! When you listen and don’t take things personally, your partner has the freedom and space to share their thoughts and feelings without there being repercussions. To put it simply, by not taking things personally, your partner has freedom of speech within the relationship, something you may expect in our day to day life - depending on the country you live in - but which we don’t allow within our relationships, for fear of hurting our partner’s feelings. if you don’t take things personally, you’ll realize that your partner’s feelings are a reflection of their insecurities rather than who you are or what you did.
KC: The experience of being with a partner who is big, not a reaction, and doesn’t take things personally relieves a tremendous amount of pressure because now It doesn’t feel like every issue needs to be framed in the most perfect way. You can just say what you’re feeling, whether it’s reality or not. Now this isn’t a pass to hurt your partner, to say things with malicious intent, with an end goal of having them change. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
O: When I tell KC, My fear is that you aren’t ambitious enough, he could react in 2 ways. 1, take offense or 2, not react, listen and ask me questions from a place of curiosity. What I’m actually communicating to him when I share this fear of him not being ambitious enough - and if he is a non-reaction, he’ll get this - is that I’m fearful of not being financially secure and this fear is coming from a past-based story, which is that without money, we’re unstable. I think that if I am financially secure, I’ll feel secure in life, and he must provide that for me since i have the uncertain belief that i can’t provide that for myself. When I reflect inwards, and create empowerment in my own life, I see that i am capable of providing financial security for myself.
Alternatively, i could act maliciously and express my sentiment of not believing that he is ambitious enough, in hopes of him changing, but that would be inauthentic and manipulative. Go back to lesson #2 to review inauthenticities. Your relationship will not be free, happy or self-expressed if you or your partner are not owning up to your inauthenticities.
KC: Imagine I am a reaction to Olivia's fear. Imagine I make this about me and take it personally. I’ll get defensive, I’ll start to get into all the ways that I am ambitious, trying to prove my worthiness to Olivia (this inauthenticity is defending). She’ll either backtrack her statements leading to under self expression, or double down and get defensive herself, and then we’re in a stand-off. Now I know the commonality of these outcomes because I’ve been in these scenarios myself more times than I can count, and I’ve also coached many couples through them. There’s nothing productive about this. However,when I don't take things personal, I come to see that even though her fears seem like they’re about me not being good enough, below the surface they are really about Olivia’s insecurity.
O: Exactly. When I share the fears and insecurities I have about KC, I realize that the fears I project onto him are a reflection of the fears I have about my own inadequacies. I need certainty that I will be ok financially and so to ensure this, I’m an ambitious person...But just in case I fail, I want a back-up plan. Insert ambitious and successful boyfriend here.
KC: See if I was a reaction I would never have gotten to see that almost none of this was about me in the first place! I’d be stuck with the feeling that I’m not good enough for my girlfriend.l, which is exactly how i've felt in numerous previous relationships when I wore my partner's insecurities.
O: During the fake-up that we initially talked about in lesson 1, I tried to fix, solve and mend KC’s uncertainty around our relationship but it just got us deeper in the muck. I initially didn’t listen to him or his concerns; I took his feelings personally and it took me a few days to realize that if I had just heard him out in the beginning instead of reacting to his feelings, he would’ve figured out on his own that this thought was actually just a fleeting feeling. Instead of hearing him out from the get go, I reacted, took his feelings personally and we almost did break up!
KC: Whenever my uncertainty about Olivia crops up, I get to talk about it with her and explore my own life to see where it’s coming from because she’s a non-reaction. I can see clearly that my uncertainties have very little to do with Olivia and have everything to do with me.
KC: Our advice is this… and it's going to require you to fight every instinct you have to get defensive and blame. But the next time you experience that pang in your stomach when you’re feeling hurt about something your partner said to you, instead of being a reaction and getting defensive, get curious, help them understand where the true source of their insecurity is coming from. Help them have a corrective experience or a breakthrough.
Olivia: In our next episode we’ll be talking about how responsibility will set you free. If you came to this course to learn ways in which to change your partner so you can be happy, you won’t be getting that from us.