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Rommel Anacan

Welcome to my blog on MFI! This blog allows me to have an ongoing conversation with multifamily professionals like you. My focus is on helping you and your companies succeed by helping you optimize the quality of your relationships. If you'd like more information about me, my company and the ways that I can help you, please visit my website at www.RelationshipDifference.com

How to NOT Take Things Personally!

How to NOT Take Things Personally!

My guess is you’ve been told, “Don’t take it personally” many times in your life. The truth is it’s good advice and also incomplete advice. Here’s what I mean by that. It’s good advice in the sense that the ability to not take things personally is crucial to your emotional and relational well-being. It really is. 


You do have to be able to let other people’s criticisms, angry words, negative emotions, bad attitudes and oppositional perspectives slide off of you like the proverbial “water off a duck’s back.” Have you ever thought about that phrase? If a duck’s feathers absorbed all of the water instead of repelling it, it would probably be too heavy to fly. The same thing is true for you. Allowing yourself to be weighed down by taking things personally or having “thin skin” can sap your energy, decrease your motivation, lead you to say or do things you’ll regret and will steal your joy. 


The Incomplete Part

Ducks have a gland that produces oil that ducks then run onto their feathers. Unfortunately people don’t have the same thing. (Last time I checked anyway!) So telling yourself to not take things personally, without knowing how to do so is often fruitless. 

What You Can Do?

Keep Your Reservoir Filled! 

There is a saying I love that says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” In other words what is in your heart will come out in your words and actions. If you are filled with joy, happiness, rest and energy, your words and actions will reflect that. If you’re tired, discouraged, irritated, “over it” that will come out too! When your tank is empty it’s hard to not take things personally!


What have you done in the past week to keep your reservoir filled? Do you have different streams in your life that provide you with the strength, sustenance, fun, connection that we all need to be healthy people? If not, why not start today by thinking of what brings you joy? What makes your heart come alive? Commit to yourself, right now, to do more of that in your life.  


Know Where Your Worth Comes From

We are designed to want and need connection with other people. We all want to feel seen, heard, valued and cared for. We all want to be treated with respect, kindness and love. When our connection tank is filled we feel good. 

Our need for connection can often messy things up in our lives, when the need for connection with other people becomes the need for validation from other people. If you give other people the power to validate you-to determine your worth-to define who you are, to set your value as a person-you also give them the power to invalidate you. 


When I was the customer care manager of a large company I got yelled at a lot! I was able to handle it with a lot of alcohol (kidding)...I was able to handle the demands because my sense of validation as a person came from sources other than my customers. So when a customer yelled at me, I didn’t need them to make me feel better; to make me feel connected; to make me feel like I was a good customer care manager, I knew I was!


Where does your validation come from?


Walk in strength!


When you’re filled and you know where your validation truly comes from this allows you to interact with anyone and everyone in a whole new way. No longer do you look to people to “complete you” (I know, it was a great line in a movie) or make you feel strong, but you look to offer your strength to them. 


Let’s say your boss criticizes the report you just turned in. Your natural tendency may be to get defensive, think of all the things your boss doesn’t do and how s/he never respects you! Instead of that now you, having been filled with joy, happiness, and good vibes, understand that your boss is simply giving you feedback. While you don't like the criticism (you're human after all), you know your validation doesn't come from your boss. This allows you to respond in strength in a way that builds connection, resolves the problem, and allows you both to move forward healthily and effectively.


I know, there is so much more to this topic, but following these strategies will give you a great foundation to not taking things personally in your life!



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  • Anne Sadovsky

    Rommel, as always great post. You should go into the ministry...your heartfelt messages are great. Our industry needs to see more positive posts like this.

  • Wow...thank you Anne! That means a lot to me. And, coincidentally, I will be ordained as an assistant pastor through my church here in a month or two, which I am very excited about! Hugs to you!

  • Tracie Reakes

    Great Article it relates to business and personal life. I do have a tendency to use the phrase don't take it personal. Easy for me to say after being in this business for 20+ years. I will share with my team.

  • Tracie~thank you for reading and commenting and for sharing with your team!

  • Debi

    I love this post. I work as a Property Manger of HUD Affordable Housing so between dealing with the my residents and struggling with state and federal inspections I was always a mental wreck. I learned that inspectors are not judging me as a person....simply pointing out any issues with how we run the business (even though we always pass with flying colors I always fretted for weeks prior and I was always a mess).....and my residents have issues they deal with that have nothing to do with me as person. They simply need a way to vent. Once I began separating business from personal feelings I was able to get through a day and feel good about myself and my job.

  • Debi...thank you for reading and for your kind words! Keep up the great work!!