Confession: my wife and I see a psychiatrist. She'd probably refer to herself as more of a counselor, but she's like a legit psycho-analyzer, she's a scientist and she's brilliant and she has revolutionized Sarah and my marriage in a way that no one ever has before. She's awesome.
As I have learned more about the science of emotions and the brain and all that kind of jazz, I have realized more and more about myself. Some things I knew. Some things I didn't know before we began working with Jules.
One of the things that I have lived with my whole life is taking things personally. I have some insight now into why this is, but the skinny is this - someone does something that could hurt me and I have a hard time not feeling abused or slighted by that thing.
On one hand, it has fueled this intense desire in me to be great in the things I do. I have a list of people who told me that I'd never make it, that I needed to give up many years ago. They ultimately drove me to be as great as I could be. In that case, perhaps taking something personally has helped me.
But in the large majority of ways, it has hurt me.
And here's the conclusion I'm coming to: my emotions are not dependent on someone else. Someone's words don't make me angry! Their words are theirs. My reaction to those words is the thing I own.
This is VERY hard for me. I have a fight instinct that is rare, according to my counselor. I am not looking for a fight but when I reach the place of realizing a fight is imminent, watch out! So while it might take me a while to get there, when i feel like I've been attacked or wronged, it is really, really hard for me not to take it personally. But I have to release myself from the bondage of others' actions.
And as I begin to work on this, I realize more and more how much better my life, my marriage, my fathering, my leadership, my... well, my everything can be.
Hey - maybe you don't struggle with this - thank God! But if you do, know you're not alone. Know that God loves you, and that you can learn the tools to work towards freedom, as I am beginning to do! But you have to chase it!