How to Use the Art of Detachment to Stop Taking Things Personally

Emily Madill
5 min readDec 18, 2022
Shutterstock | Cristina Conti

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Truer words were never spoken. But applying Gandhi’s wise reflection is the obvious challenge.

The ego is fragile. Rather than processing our triggers and emotions in a healthy way, our ego can be quick to create elaborate tales that keep us stuck in our wounded stories. Our wounded stories become our truths — false truths that prompt us to take too much to heart.

I would describe myself as sensitive and, for the most part, empathic. Throughout my life, I have felt offended, hurt and misunderstood by others more times than I can count. Thankfully, at some point, I decided that my sense of worth was not up for grabs. Not by anyone but myself.

But it’s not easy to navigate a path toward owning and nurturing one’s light. From a young age, we are programmed to fit in at all costs. Our desire to belong can be so strong that we even turn our back on ourselves, making us open game for others to define. And allowing others — even the most well-intentioned friends and family — to define who we are will never feel true. Let’s not even delve into what it looks and feels like to hand over our power to those who don’t have our best interest at heart.

As research professor Brené Brown eloquently shares in Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone,

True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

The practice of protecting your wild heart is both uncomfortable and liberating. One way to quiet the noise and hear your own wisdom and truth is to stop taking everything personally. To stop allowing the opinions of others to cloud your judgment and view of yourself.

If that feels like a stretch, I get it. Here are a few ways I use the art of detachment to stop taking things personally, especially when I feel triggered. If they resonate with you, give them a try.

Practice Compassion

Emily Madill

Author & ICF Certified Coach (ACC)• BA in Business & Psychology.• Thrive Global editor-at-large•Author of 11 books•Coach at BetterUp•WWW.WEEKLYHAPPINESSNOTE.COM