It’s not personal

Last week our friend Suzanna came over to look after Scarlett for a while. Scarlett was having none of it, like only a two-year-old can.

“No Suzanna! … Daddy doesn’t have to go.” And then the tears.

Of course it wasn’t personal about Suzanna, it was just that she wasn’t mum or dad. (And when I peeked back in the window a full 60 seconds after I left them they were happily playing together.)

As we get older our tantrums get a bit more elegant (well, sometimes), and our justifications and rationalisations more sophisticated.

I reckon it’s useful to recognise that when we are annoyed and reacting it’s not really about what’s in front of us – often it’s our inner two-year-old throwing a bit of a tantrum.

And it’s even more useful to realise that when someone else is reacting to us, it’s not personal. We represent something else. And taking it personally is as ridiculous as Suzanna getting upset because Scarlett didn’t want her there.