The Coping Kete

No. 65: Soothing the Personal Sting

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice taking the sting out of interpersonal situations by viewing other people’s actions and reactions as being about them and not me. It is a natural human response to consider how we are received by those around us. Often though, we can personalise things that really have nothing to do with us. For example if someone frowns while we are speaking, we might assume they are displeased with us. But they could be concentrating or have a personal relationship to something we said. This week I will give people space to be responding to their own set of wants, needs, attitudes and challenges. Thinking about alternative, less personal ways of interpreting things can really help to reduce our sense of distress or hurt.

So this week when I notice shifts in mood, I am going to scan my thoughts and see whether I have been taking something personally. Whenever I catch myself taking something on board as being about me, I will make a quick list of other things that could be responsible as well.

It can often help to jot these things down in a notepad or on a scrap of paper – when we are really distressed it can otherwise be quite hard to concentrate on alternative explanations.

This exercise could help with dealing with past situations that continue to distress me as memories as well.

Once I have become comfortable identifying personalised thoughts and taking out the personal sting in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of thinking myself through stress and distress.

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