Q&A: How Do I Not Take Things Personally Anymore?
Q: (This was in response to my Facebook post on 7/21/20 about not taking things in life personally and getting painfully wrapped up in other people’s perceptions of us, misperceptions, projections, and expectations.)
Julia M. said: “I'm so in awe of you Julie!!! You, by your vulnerability and transparency, give permission to so many others to follow in your path. Please share how you came to let it go and rise above this?! I know I'm not as brave as you and therefore have stopped myself from stepping out there like you did for exactly the reasons that I see you talk about!!! I, like many, have stepped out there, stood up and been courageous and strong, but then for whatever reason have had to pull back!
However, Julie, you have done this and by posting this today you have shown us all a light/a beacon and a call to arms. We are here and we are the beautiful heart-centered empathic souls who love our earth and all the beings who are here with us at this time for better or for worse.
A: @Julia Mullaney Oh my goodness, thank you so much for this, Julia! Thank you for your words of kindness, love, and support. I feel it. Please be in AWE of yourself, too! We are each such works of art. We are each a living, breathing miracle in every moment. You DO have the same access to being brave as I do. Thank you for asking how I came to “let it go and rise above it.” I appreciate the opportunity to respond here.
It’s a multi-pronged answer:
1) When you come to understand yourself to be an infinite being of light there is nothing to take personally. When you are infinite, eternal, a spark of the Divine, God, Source (or whatever words you use to describe it), there is nothing that ultimately can add to or take away from who or what you know yourself to be. When you understand yourself to be cells assembled into a certain form of energy or series of frequencies, life isn’t so personal at all. It is ebb and flow. It is matter changing form. It is the movement of energy being expressed in life, AS life. It is existence….existing.
2) When you know that people aren’t responding to YOU, they are responding to the ideas they have about you and who they think you are, the place they THINK you are coming from, the things they THINK you are saying or doing, life isn’t so hurtful after all. I have always loved writer Anais Nin’s quote “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as WE are.”
3) When you understand that things, people, circumstances, and situations appear in our reality (our holograph) to play out a certain role and prompt feelings in us that we are healing, life isn’t so painfully insufferable. If we have anger to release and heal, someone or something inevitably shows up to “make us mad” and triggers an angry response. This happens on an individual and collective level.
We have all been all sides of all emotional coins. Sometimes we are the one inadvertently “making someone mad,” or they are triggering us. If there is collective grief to heal, “sad events” prompt mass mourning. Right now we are seeing every unresolved, simmering, or stuffed down emotion come to the surface on planet Earth to be reckoned with as never before, and to love ourselves through what we are seeing, feeling, hearing, and experiencing on all levels.
4) For me, over the years along paths of spiritual pursuits and explorations, insights blossomed and opened up to where I began to see life just as a series of experiences strung together, not necessarily as good or bad, right or wrong….just simply as experiences to be experienced through being in human form. We are here to ride this ride, visit all corners of Life’s amusement park, try everything out and have the whole experience of all of life’s flavors and textures.
5) I made a conscious effort to bless, heal, and release my inner victim. I got really tired of being a victim to the storyline of my own victimhood, if that makes sense to you? I got really tired of the voice and story in my own head. It wore itself out. I was done with feeling so helpless, powerless, and “at the mercy of life happening TO me.” I actively worked to love my inner child who often cried out “This isn’t fair,” “That’s so wrong,” “Why does this have to happen to me?”, and always feeling “less than,” bad, ashamed, “in trouble,” persecuted, picked on, bullied, and like life was an unsafe place to be or “Out to get me.” My ego’s M-O and default mechanism of “This isn’t fair” was no longer good enough for me. It was time to transform and transmute it.
Having an open dialogue with those parts (parts work) to reach a deeper understanding of them, what they needed, and why they were trying to get my attention was crucial. I had to give all parts of myself more love, not less. ALL parts. No one can do that for us. It’s a deep, but necessary journey if we want to be free.
6) As awful as this is to imagine or to be on the receiving end of (and no one wants this, condones this, or applauds this behavior), it was the consistently unconscious, nasty, directly pointed, mean, unsupportive, “troll” behaviors that helped me rise above taking things personally and cracked me open to something wiser, deeper, more loving, and peaceful. It was the “outer trolls” and wherever they left off and my own mind picked thing up, it was my “inner trolls” that helped my consciousness wake up.
Getting blasted from all sides, overlooked, seen as an unimportant accessory to someone else’s great, bright light was so utterly depleting. And it played right into my insecurities I needed to heal within myself. With enough grinding down and polishing myself to truly become a diamond, I began to understand that I was not there to please everyone. It’s simply not possible. My inner perfectionist and control freak were destroyed because I couldn’t achieve the impossible. I couldn’t attain what was not meant to be accomplished.
When you are building something really big, transformative, and life-changing in the world, you simply CANNOT let the detractors, critics, cynics, and naysayers get the best of you. Serving the greater good remained my focus and helped carry me through any criticism.
Sure, there were days, weeks, and months where I just wanted to quit everything and everyone. That’s part of surrender. Sometimes you have to reach the end of the rope where you just throw your arms up in the air at the utter ridiculousness of it all and say “Enough! Enough of their egos, and enough with mine!”
I was so tired of how loving people would be with their “angel, healer, guru, spiritual teacher” Matt Kahn publicly and how SHOCKINGLY atrocious their words and behavior would be in my inbox in private (it was only a small percentage I’m talking about here, but it’s relevant because of its impact).
There were times I was feeling so disheartened by the people who would say “love and light” and “Namaste” right after really unconscious behavior. The hypocrisy and incongruence with their spiritual path and certainly with the core of our teachings was beyond what they could see in themselves. I could see that life would be showing them their own paths of “grinding down, polishing, and surrender,” in order for that to be revealed to them. And even then, we are either ready or not to see what is in front of us. It might dawn on us now, years from now, or in the next life.
Critics or no critics, I kept going. Matt and I were there to serve those people as they hopefully found ways to balance all of that out in themselves. I didn’t give up on them or myself. I knew our mission and the teachings were way too helpful and healing to cave. I didn’t give in.
In the many years of working alongside Matt Kahn, I was in the role of co-teacher at our live events on stage on our Angel Academies, and facilitated literally everything else “behind the scenes.” So, I was the business manager, marketing manager, event planner, product creator, and in the early years—I started as the customer service rep, session scheduler, contract negotiator, complaint department, video and sound production person, graphic designer, etc.
And, I was the one who “took all the heat” so Matt didn’t have to. I managed all the input and output. I handled all of the love and hate correspondence that came our way. I provided the space for him and all his gifts to shine while I handled the day-to-day details. We were mostly loved and appreciated by 95% of everyone we served.
Then there was that very loud, vocal 5%. I stood in the fire of their heat for years. Eventually, it melted so much of me. Seeing and hearing the same themes of insults over the years was really tough, but invaluable training to not take things personally.
I was seen as “the bad guy,” “the big bad gatekeeper,” the one who didn’t give them what they wanted. They got mad at me when I set healthy boundaries, when I wouldn’t make exceptions for them that would be unfair to every other person in our circles. They were upset when I did something, or didn’t do something. They were upset about whatever I never did or said. They were just simply upset no matter what. The fact that I was breathing upset them!
They said nasty, hurtful things about how I was taking up too much time on stage from Matt, how I didn’t “Deserve to be there in the first place,” how I should just “Know my place and introduce him, take a seat off stage and shut up.” They would be rude to me on the phone trying to get Matt’s cell phone number out of me.
When you step back from taking things personally, you see the very predictable movement of ego. You see how sly, crafty, and tricky it will be to try to get what it wants. You see how it moves when it feels denied and is rooted in righteousness and entitlement. You see how it acts when a teaching pulls it out of hiding, exposes it, and suddenly one has to be really real with themselves.
It can be messy as it looks around for someone to project onto and to blame. I was their ego’s obvious choice. I wasn’t their “beloved Matt.” They didn’t know me as well and have the same connection and rapport as with their YouTube Matt. How often do we see people lash out in the world at things they don’t know or understand, vs. get curious about and openly embrace and explore them? We are either building walls, or tearing them down to embrace each other.
I was, in many cases, the unfamiliar and unknown. In their eyes, I was the “second fiddle,” the one standing “behind him.” That’s never how I saw myself and there were plenty of people who totally “got” my role at all its deeper levels.
You know who you are. And I deeply thank you.
You never know when your words of kindness and inclusion will be a lifeline for someone at just the moment they could secretly really use a supportive word of encouragement to keep going! They expressed much compassion for my seemingly “secondary” role. I will always appreciate that.
But it was that blasting from angry egos I would never please and those who didn’t understand my role that was particularly helpful in my own ego’s release and surrender.
Most people didn’t see or understand that I was the one actually GIVING them all the access to Matt, his teachings, his products, the private sessions, etc. I was the one who started it, built it, and kept it going with faith, hope, love, trust, sweat, tears, and even my own funding!
Eventually after enough pain, crying over the hurtful comments and how I was being painted in their eyes and being seen, it stopped. I realized it wasn’t about me. Healing my inner victim, taking things personally, and “caring what others think” was definitely mine to heal. I used to be tightly wound around all of those things, so everything hurt.
How I was being seen by the critics was more about what they made me represent to them. It was their unresolved wounds and traumas that gosh lashed out on me. And that of course, triggered whatever was unresolved in my own journey.
They were acting out their past hurts and conditioning. It was their lack of self-love….which was a part of why they were coming to us in the first place – to fulfill their desire to become more loving! Sometimes, them getting there was a mighty bumpy road and maybe 5-10 years later they would have a realization, and I would hear from them. A few actually came around to bigger realizations and got in touch with me with their apologies.
Often in life or in the realms of social media, you don’t get that. Egos jump from one rant and tirade to the next, constantly moving from drama to more drama. You can’t ever expect self-awareness and an apology, but when it comes, the “I’m so sorry” is really quite refreshing.
I used to tell people that when egos blast you enough times, you eventually get wise to it and it bounces off like Teflon. It doesn’t stick when you know the Truth about life, and yourself. And when you see everyone as “God/Source” and have compassion for their journey and your own, you just respond with love.
And no, that doesn’t mean you just sit there and “take it.” Sometimes love is being the one who plays the tough role of sticking to an agreement, or saying “no,” or saying that you wish to be spoken to with kindness and respect. Sometimes love is the mama bear who stands up tall on her hind legs, roars, and firmly, but with compassion says, “I will not be spoken to this way and be on the receiving end of your verbal abuse!”
7) The trick and trap is to not fall into letting go and surrendering so much that you become apathetic or uncaring. It’s natural to go through that stage of “Fine, I don’t care what anyone thinks” and “Screw everyone!”, but let it be temporary. You don’t want to hang out there or get stuck there.
How do you then move out the other side of “I just don’t care anymore”? You have to find and focus on things you DO care about. People you love. Animals you love. Look for the light. Look for the helpers, the healers. Let nature—the mountains, forest, desert, waters, or the night sky rebalance, reset, and rejuvenate you and remind you of the bigger picture, your place in the vast cosmos, and the innate peace of the soul.
Lean into some creative pursuits for the sake of pure soul expression. Or volunteer. Sometimes the spiritual ego gets so self-obsessed working on itself, that it actually creates a block in spiritual advancement and increases stress, worry, and self-loathing vs. self-love (“I’m not far enough along, I have so much more to release, I’m not where you’re at [suffering by comparison], I just need to meditate all day, I need to give up people, possessions, do endless healing sessions, etc.).
Volunteering is just a lovely, simple way to get out of our own way, remind us that there are others who could use our help, gives the self a sense of purpose, and a way to focus our love, care, and compassion. It opens the heart to feel our connection to each other, to our tribe, to the common threads of our humanity.
8) And finally – when you let go of taking things personally, it lets go of you. And it happens on its own timeline when its good and ready. When the giant bubbling pot of life lessons has marinated the flavors together enough, we feel a letting go.
We cannot control our release and surrender. We CAN control how patient we are will the process and just keep showing up again and again…staying open to the depth of wisdom, love, and compassion that is being carved in us as we move through it.
It was a long process of unwinding and falling away of the care and concern about “What other people think.” It was the blossoming of knowing that hanging onto to that any longer was eating up my energy reserves I needed for my physical and emotional healing. It was the realization that hanging onto anything in life creates suffering. It’s all temporary and comes and goes.
Nowadays, I enjoy a good chuckle when someone says, “I hope you didn’t take that personally.” Or, “I hope I didn’t offend you,” because it’s no longer how I feel, react, and experience the world. The vibration of spoken (or written) words in the air mean way less to me than their intention. I intuitively feel what’s behind the words. Are they intending to be hurtful or loving? I’m clear on my intention in all interactions….to bring more love, not less. I can only be responsible for my own words and actions.
MANTRA: May my words and actions come from a place of compassionate awareness and heart-centered love.
There is such tremendous freedom in not clinging, grasping, coercing, manipulating, or trying to control reality. When facing whatever arises in any moment, there is so much freedom in welcoming, accepting, embracing, loving, and saying “Yes, this too. So be it.” When you come from love in yourself, nothing needs to be taken personally at all.
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P.S. And, please check out my YouTube video "It's Taken Almost 7 Yrs. to Share This with You." It's an even deeper dive into how life carves compassion in us, shows us how to surrender, and more about self-love through the power of chronic illness in the body.