I speak mostly of the internet, the way people soon avoid the issue being discussed, take everything personally, and descend into offense, as if they themselves were being targeted and attacked. I blame our culture, political correctness, and the endless melodrama to be found on reality TV. The personal IS SO NOT political.
However, personalizing everything, relating it to our own feelings, is also something that commonly will afflict women. We are feeling creatures, but the urge to personalize things too much is often related to wounding. As gently as I possibly can, this is something I’d like to see women healed of, mostly because it is a victim behavior that can cause us undo grief. There is tremendous security and safety to be found in cultivating the ability to depersonalize things. I have a saying, “if it doesn’t belong to you, don’t pick it up.”
Men engage in it too, but with much less frequency. For the most part they have an easier time compartmentalizing and depersonalizing. All in good fun here, but that is why you will sometimes see them get into a big fight and the next moment they are buying one another drinks. Do women do that? Not so much, 6 months later we are still shooting daggers at one another.
There’s another reason I’m concerned about personalizing too, it is often related to cheap grace, to legalism, to shame that may not even belong to us. On the internet we would call this a “trigger,” there is something within you being “triggered.” This is a fine line to walk, because people will sometimes say things that are convicting. Conviction is good, so you simply ask God about it and see if He needs to change your heart. Or not! It is always possible you are being convicted to stand your ground. What is not so good is lots of unresolved shame so you feel as if you are standing on shaky ground all the time and everything people say begins to feel like an attack. Jesus Christ went to the cross, despising the shame on our behalf. If we are carrying around unresolved shame, lay it down before Him and let Him set you free.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:2
In faith, to be “convicted,” is related to judgment. That is one definition. In Christ there is another definition, it means “an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence.” One is convicted, unshakable, standing on the Rock. Some women call it standing on His shoulders. You will not be moved because you have been cleansed, redeemed, claimed. I speak here of not being moved emotionally, psychologically, your inner cage cannot be rattled because you are convicted.
Learning how to depersonalize things, even an outright attack, is a valuable skill to have. It makes you far less vulnerable, it helps you to control your emotions, it teaches you to not pick up things that do not belong to you, and it creates rest for your soul. It also helps to bring clarity and wisdom to conversations. But most important, it allows us to step into the shoes that we have been given as precious daughters of a most High God.