Don’t take it personally: A lesson in compassion, reality and consciousness

Don’t take it personally. This is one of the basic lessons in personal development and usually good advice when people criticize or reject us. But how come? Why is taking things not personally such a good lesson, especially in compassion, reality and consciousness?

We all experience the world around us differently. With our five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) we process an enormous flow of information that is constantly reaching us; day and night. The only way our brain can handle this is to filter it. This is the reality we experience. Our experience is not the real reality but a filtered one. We are living in our own world.

We filter the information based on past conditioning and experience, what is important to us, what we believe, our emotional state of being, hormonal activity, how conscious we are and if we are in a friendly or hostile environment. All determine how we view the world around us and how we interpreted it. Let’s look at the following example:

Three hikers are walking on a mountain trail and suddenly a bear and cub appear on the trail in front of them. They all experience the encounter quite differently. For the first hiker this was as closest to nature as he could be. He has never seen a bear before and was in awe seeing the bear and cub. The second hiker was very frightened, she panicked and started to run (not a good idea if you encounter a bear). The third hiker, an experience one who has seen many bears while travelling, was more interested in the reaction of his fellow hikers. All saw and experienced the same situation differently, They all witnessed a different reality: Their reality.

What is frightening for one may be a joyful experience for another. What makes me nervous may excite you. Our filtered reality is how we experience the world and people in it. The implication of this is that when we encounter other people, we are not encountering them but a filtered reality, our reality, of them.

This is something you should be aware of when interacting with others. Their reaction to what you are saying is not a reaction to you but to their own reality of you speaking to them. A simple question like “How are you doing?” or “Can you help me?” may give a different set of reactions depending on whom you ask and how they filter the information of you that is reaching them.

Knowing you are living your own reality, not the real one, will make you more conscious of how you view the world around you; how you experience your own reality. It will make you more conscious of your behavior toward others and how you interact with them. Knowing all of this will give you the power to play with it, experiment with it, and change it if you like. You have the power to change your own reality. All you have to do is change the way you filter it.

To conclude: Knowing how you and others view reality will make you more compassioned towards others; and to yourself. Isn’t this great? After all they experience their own reality, not yours. There is no reason to take it personally. Isn’t this a great lesson in compassion, reality and consciousness?

3 comments… add one
  • Fatima Da Jan 1, 2010 @ 16:01

    This is very a interesting and informative post …Good food for thought in the New Year..Have an Awesome Year thanks and for sharing 🙂

  • jonathan Jan 2, 2010 @ 12:34

    Nice post – It’s a good lesson to learn that your best friend is one who will tell you the truth however painful – not just what you want to hear…

  • nothingprofound Jan 2, 2010 @ 15:55

    I was just thinking of that this morning. How when someone criticizes or insults us they’re really not talking about us, but themselves.

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