Don't Take it Personally

by Alan Cohen - 

When I walked into my aviary to feed the parrots one morning, Yogi made mean faces at me and tried to bite me. My heart sank; my first reaction was, "I must have done something wrong to make him dislike me."

Yogi kept up this behavior over a period of weeks until I discovered that he had taken up courtship with one of the other birds and he had gone into a protective mode stemming from his mating instincts.

When I realized this, I felt relieved; it was just a genetically dictated "bird thing" and had nothing to do with me.

When someone is unkind or abusive toward you, don't take it personally. 

Anger is more about the giver than the recipient. If you accept their attack as a statement about you, you will not see clearly and the situation will be even more muddied.

Do not accept their "gift," and you will help them face their own issues.

Cultures, genders and belief systems have unique properties that are statements about the giver not the receiver. 

Just as my bird's aggressive behavior was a bird thing, there are ethnic things, man things, woman things and religion things.

Do not confuse a programmed behavior with a statement about your own value or the person who is speaking.

My friend who had emigrated from Russia was very aggressive and I often felt intimidated by her.

Then I went to Russia and stood in a crowd at a department store. The only way I was able to catch the attention of the clerk was to literally push my way to the front of the mob. 

That experience gave me an important insight into my friend's programming and I was able to understand her behavior. 

No one is mean on purpose. Since love is our nature, anything unlike love is a statement of an individual's history of pain. 

Unkindness is not an attack but a call for love.

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