Personalisation is what happens when you interpret events as being somehow linked to yourself and fail to consider factors that have nothing to do with you.
This can lead to you taking more responsibility for events than you can possibly be responsible for as well as creating lots of negative emotions, self-blame and feelings of guilt.
The first thing to understand when trying to stop personalising is that almost everything that happens around you has got very little to do with you and you have much less influence over the workings of the Universe than you might think!
Furthermore, personalisation is also one of the common thinking traps that can get in the way of happiness and success.
Personalisation of Natural Events
Michael decides that he is going to hold a barbecue for his friends, family and neighbours.
Everything looks like it’s on track, the burgers are cooking nicely on the grill, people are sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine when, wouldn’t you know it, out of nowhere a freak thunderstorm breaks out and a torrential downpour ensues.
Some of the women beat a hasty retreat home as their clothes have been soaked, the food has all been ruined by the black smoke pouring off the now completely soaked grill, one couple have started arguing and the whole thing has turned into a real mess.
Those guests who do stay are now sitting in the kitchen eating crisps and potato salad (the only food that survived).
Michael is thinking to himself that the women who have gone home are going to blame him for their ruined clothes and the arguing couple are undoubtedly going to file for divorce as a result of the aborted party.
This is a classic example of the sort of thought process that somebody with the personalisation thinking trap will indulge in.
It’s perfectly clear to most of us, that Michael cannot be responsible for the weather and certainly not for the couple who have had the argument.
And yet Michael is fully engaged in self-blame and will undoubtedly experience a number of negative emotions.
The most common negative emotion associated with those who personalise external events is guilt.