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Daring to Live Fully
Live the Length and Width of Your Life
by Marelisa

Improve the quality of your life by not taking things personally.

The other day I was in a building running an errand. As I walked through the lobby toward the exit, a woman I didn’t know walked past me. As she did she said, “Buenas”–which is a standard greeting–, and I answered, “Buenas”, and kept going. Then I heard the woman say:

“You’re so rude. Learn some manners. When someone greets you, you should greet them back.”

I stopped and turned around, and I saw that the woman was talking to me. Obviously, she didn’t hear me when I answered her greeting. In addition, it was evident that she had concluded that I simply chose to ignore her, and she took it personally. Given her state of agitation, it was clear to me that she felt slighted. I told the woman that I had responded to her greeting, and it wasn’t my fault that she didn’t hear me. Then I left. What I really wanted to tell her was that she needed to learn how to stop taking things personally.

Whenever I walk into an elevator and there’s already someone in there, I say “Buenas”, because that’s a cultural practice in Latin America. Most of the time people answer my greeting. But sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t, I don’t take it personally.

I used to take things personally all the time, but now, for the most part, I don’t. How did I stop takings things personally (or at least get much better at it)? I learned certain strategies, which I’m going to share with you. Below you’ll find eight ways to stop taking things personally.

1. Question Your Beliefs.

As I explained in my post on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) , psychologist Albert Ellis–the father of REBT–argued that a person is not affected emotionally by what happens around them, but by their interpretation of what happened. In turn, our interpretations are formed by our beliefs.

Obviously, I can’t say for sure what was going on in the mind of the woman in my example above, but I can guess that her beliefs were along the following lines:

You can see how that line of reasoning would lead the woman to feel bad and want to lash out at me.

I, on the other hand, don’t get upset if people don’t greet me when I greet them, because my beliefs are the following:

The woman from my example and I react differently to the same situation because we have different beliefs. If you want to stop taking things personally, question your beliefs.

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article about psychological influence, "Most commonly, the RAS is associated with the concept of selective attention, which means that we naturally orient to information or ideas that we are invested in.”

(Image source: )

One of the most common examples of your RAS in action is known as the "cocktail party effect." Here’s how it works:

If you’re at a party with dozens of people chatting around you, you’ll likely find that you can easily ignore or tune out of those conversations. They’re just background noise. But , as soon as someone says something that is of particular interest to you, you will magically tune into that specific conversation. The important information will, thanks to your RAS, rise above the noise.

Want to know one of -- if not the -- biggest “cocktail party effect” triggers around? We’ll explore that next.

The Sweetest Sound

"Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Carnegie’s point here was that remembering a person’s name — and using it whenever appropriate — is key to winning that person over to your way of thinking. He was so keen on this notion, in fact, that he came up with Embellished Leather Slingback Pumps Black Marni Cheapest For Sale Finishline Cheap Online uqS6W3mO12

Clearly, Carnegie understood that something special occurs when people hear their own name. And, as I alluded to in the previous section, the “cocktail party effect” also backs up this idea: Your name, as it turns out, is one of the easiest sounds for your RAS to hone in on.

While you can easily ignore that stranger in the background complaining about their job or talking about their kitchen renovations, as soon as they mention your name, your ears will inevitably perk up.

So, what exactly is going on here? My scientific answer is as follows:

Something. Something is definitely going on. And yes, there is scientific research that backs up my bold claim.

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published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Research , when peoplehear their own first name (vs. hearing other first names), there is a unique reaction in the brain.

More specifically, hearing your own name -- as opposed to other names -- triggers greater brain activation, particularly in the middle frontal cortex (which is associated withsocial behavior), the middle and superior temporal cortex (which are associated with long-term memory and auditory processing, respectively), as well as the cuneus (which is associated with visual processing).

Based on this research, it's clear thathearing your own name definitely causes something special to happen in your brain. But how can you use this information practicallyfor improvingyour marketing?

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July 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Thanks for sharing! Very insightful piece.

lemurtide July 12, 2014 at 2:49 am

Consider the fact that the author thinks the voluntary deployment of trigger warnings by a handful of academics (an artificial “problem” affecting approximately 0% of the overall population) is more pressing than his own furtherance of dismissive sexist argumentation in a culture which still violently and institutionally abuses women…anyone seen the latest research on widespread non-investigation of rape at universities? At least someone knows how to think about phrases like the author’s “weepy…feminism.”

imaxme July 12, 2014 at 3:12 am

Reblogged this on Imax World Of Max's Blog .

Sally Ember, Ed.D. July 12, 2014 at 8:17 am

Brilliant, Jack: “…saying that you feel harmed by another queer person’s use of a reclaimed word like ‘tranny’ and organizing against the use of that word is NOT social activism. It is censorship.” I applaud your considered thinking on these difficult topics.

I have lived through and participated in most of the “eras” you describe. You forgot t mention the part where some claim that my recognition of my bisexuality is considered false by others. I also insist that most people are bisexual (biologically correct), and that anyone who has even a modicum of attraction, in dreams or otherwise, to both or all genders is bi-, or omnisexual. I get a lot of hate mail for that. My pet peeve: applauding EVERYONE and exalting mediocrity in the process. Good on ya!

Sally Ember, Ed.D. July 12, 2014 at 9:26 am

Reblogged this on Sally Ember, Ed.D. and commented: Brilliant, Jack: “…saying that you feel harmed by another queer person’s use of a reclaimed word like ‘tranny’ and organizing against the use of that word is NOT social activism. It is censorship.” I applaud your considered thinking on these difficult topics.

murph July 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I offer my feedback not to contend with your assertions, which I mostly agree with, but hopefully to spark some kind of useful dialectical engagement.

As a person who suffers from mild to intense post-traumatic stress disorder, I wholeheartedly believe that the force of trauma is repeatedly mis-directed within communities of “resistance”. We are generationally conditioned to direct the pure blinding rage of a trauma response either (a) inwards, through actions of self-harm or (b) horizontally, through accusing others who basically, in terms of a global analysis, have the same level of power as we do. Escalation of horizontal hostility is a hallmark of trauma, and is used repeatedly by the state to dismantle and dissolve our movements. What we really need is (c) to funnel the rage upwards in the power system, to direct it as a force at those who would keep a system of global inequity in place.

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