Recently, I noticed a lot more front-line staff are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Their customers are becoming exasperated and sometimes demanding, leading to more difficult conversations.
I was captivated by the short yet practical clip by a lady called Xandria Ooi; a well-known Malaysian writer, motivational speaker, TV and radio host. Ooi’s sums up her advice by giving three reasons why we should not take things personally when someone criticises, insults or gives us a backhanded compliment.
Then she breaks them down one by one.
1. Don’t let people transfer their pain onto you
Every now and then you may come across people in bad form or perhaps someone nasty who says something hurtful. They may not even be aware they are being rude. Yet we take it personally. What we need to remember is that a lot of the time people react out of their own insecurities and hurt. Their reaction may have nothing to do with us. It’s up to us to tell ourselves “It’s nothing to do with me, I’m not taking it on”.
2. Don’t let people make you react
Being sensitive can be a good thing when we consider other people’s feeling and show empathy. Yet, there are times when people are hypersensitive. We say something that offends the other person. They get upset and react defensively. We end up feeling distressed and take it personally. The situation goes round and around for both parties and no one wins. The key here is to remember not to react. We need to be courteous, humble and accept that what we said might have been sensitive to them. But we must be prepared to stop it there.
3. Don’t let your own fears and insecurities drive you to take it personally
There are times when our own inadequacies can exaggerate the level of pain we feel, when someone makes a hurtful comment. We may know their reaction is more to do with them. Yet we allow ourselves to take it personally because of our own insecurities. We need to take back our power and recognise our own vulnerabilities whilst gaining a perspective on the situation.
What I found most interesting about Xandria Ooi’s tips is that we all need to remember we have a choice in how we allow ourselves to react in any given situation. Often, we react based on impulse - our emotions step in and logic goes out the window. The bottom line for us is to remember we have a choice over how we feel.