When someone behaves negatively towards you, there are three ways in which you can take it:
- Insecurity. You take it personally by default, even when you aren’t attacked on a personal level. This is due to your lack of self-esteem, typically accompanied by an oversensitivity to nonverbal cues. For all you know, the other person might just be in a bad mood because he is sleep-deprived, love-deprived, angry at or disappointed by someone else, or suffering from suppressed pain—but since you don’t know, you become insecure.
- Serenity. You don’t take it personally because you understand that people behave not as a result of conscious intent and free will, but as a result of unconscious processes. This is a healthy response if you haven’t done anything wrong; but have you?
- Responsibility. You consider whether you could in any way have affected the etiology of the person’s behavior, and thus take it personally to an appropriate degree. You realize that your actions and your current state can affect other people’s states in the short term and that your character as well as how you actively condition other’s behavior affects how they act towards you in the long term. So you don’t take everything with total serenity because this would rob you of the motivation to learn to communicate more constructively, to lead and influence people more effectively, and to change yourself if advisable.