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Lesson 19: Don't Take It Personal!

This lesson I learned in the classroom VERY early. There would be instances where first thing in the morning a scholar would walk in and already be on TEN! Or after asking for a scholar to do a task, he/she would say something that was not kind to me. In the beginning I would question what I did wrong, or how I could change my behavior to not have those interactions again. What I learned is that most of the time, these outbursts in the classroom have nothing to do with me personally.

For my scholars, their behavior is usually trying to communicate with me something that is going on in their world. Not feeling safe/secure may be an issue at the moment, or they may have been rushed to school in the morning and they didn’t get to complete their morning routine. Sometimes they are tired. Sometimes they are hungry. Sometimes they are simply having a rough day. I can choose to deescalate the situation and keep the peace, but I must first remember that I can’t take it personally. Taking their behavior personally will have me triggered and possibly escalating the problem, or questioning my worth as a teacher, and neither are good.

I have to remember this for my interactions with adults too. People’s actions are a reflection of themselves and their circumstances at the moment. If someone doesn’t put in the necessary effort in a relationship, if someone express a differing opinion, or if someone doesn’t answer the phone, don’t take it personal! For me, I have had to coach myself through this multiple times. I still do. At the slightest sense of rejection in a person’s voice, or if a person did not communicate something with me well, I would be questioning what I did wrong or what about me needs to change. While I think that being self-reflective is a good thing, I had to realize it’s not always about me. People have their own lives going on and most of the time their actions are just reflective of just that. Instead of jumping to conclusions and rushing to take it personally, I have found that reaching out to the person and asking him/her what’s going on and expressing me feelings is a better solution. That way I can bring awareness to the ‘story I am telling myself’ and receive their perspective as well.

Moving from taking things personally to making space for differing perspective takes time. The first step is being aware that you are even taking things personally. Once you are aware you can figure out what steps, if any, need to be taken to rectify the situation. This lesson has worked wonders in my own life and brought peace to me in my own relationships! I hope it will do the same for you!

Love y’all!

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