How to stop stewing about something you’ve taken (a little too) personally

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Last month, I decided to get a snack from a convenience store. As I walked to the door, there was another customer ahead of me. And he opened the door for himself without bothering to look back.

How rude, I thought. Who doesn’t hold the door open for someone behind them! I got my snack, returned to my car and stewed about the incident. Didn’t he see me? Did he do that on purpose? The thoughts consumed me as I drove around running errands — and even continued over the next few days.

I knew I was wasting a lot of emotional energy on a seemingly trivial moment. And it got me wondering — why was I taking this incident so personally? And how do I manage my feelings about it?

To help answer these questions, I turned to Ethan Kross, psychologist and author of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters and How to Harness It; psychotherapist Sana Powell, author of Mental Health Journal for Women: Creative Prompts and Practices to Improve Your Well-Being; and clinical psychologist Adia Gooden. They told me it’s human to get upset when we feel offended by something that someone did or said, because we may feel their actions or words are a personal affront to our character.


https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2022/09/23/gettyimages-1190354359_slide-8078803b5fa4fde0c981d8981b1eb50c1661eb04-s800-c85.webpRichard Drury/Getty Images



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