Want to be free? Don't take anything personally

The following are real comments made about me online:  kristy is THE most annoying

Awful. She has no talent, looks a bit weird and isnt Jenna Marbles

another gook poker player ,lame Chin...k cunt

Ehh, she's hot(but not sfh) just cuz she's an asian. In reality she's just a 6/10.

im usually big on the slanted eyes but she's not making anything move.

She looks like she got hit in the face with a frying pan.

i feel like punching her

Pretty decent, she's got 12 year old girl boobies tho

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This all started when I became a public figure in poker as a reporter. I was 21. Like most people my age, I was unsure of who I was. I took all of these comments extremely personally. Of course, they were amongst many positive posts, but none of those stuck. Only the ones that triggered me the most were internalized.

For years I struggled with social anxiety. I was constantly trying to be perfect in an attempt to avoid the pain of hearing people say mean stuff about me. If I could accomplish more, be prettier, say the right words, maybe people would love me. It was exhausting.

My friends would always say, "Don't take it personally." Sure, intellectually I got what they meant, but it wasn't until I read the book, The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz that I truly understood. Not taking things personally is an agreement from ancient toltec wisdom in how we create personal freedom.

[pullquote align="normal"]Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. [/pullquote]

What had resulted in my taking these comments personally was anxiety, anger, and suffering. I began to constantly change who I was. I took less risks out fear. I essentially made myself small. And it was because I was looking for outside validation of WHO I AM and WHAT I'M WORTH. What I discovered was if I allowed my worth to be based on what other people thought, I would create endless anguish.

Instead, I began building my own self worth from within. Who I am is defined by my integrity and my love. The more I cultivate this love for myself by BEING someone I'm proud of, the less I need any validation from others. As a result of that, it's much easier to choose not to take things personally.

It's from this place that I believe we all have the most power to stand up for what we believe. It's not ok that those men (I'm assuming they're men) felt like they needed to treat me like as if my worth was based on my "bangability" as one of them so eloquently put it. But it's not ok not because of how it made me feel. I am responsible for how I feel. But it's not ok because those people are just reflecting to me their own inner turmoil. Many of them who felt the need to judge me have probably felt so rejected by women themselves that they feel the need to disconnect or to look for ways to feel power over this vulnerable spot. I have empathy for that.

I will absolutely not stand for men speaking to women that way, but the way to make change isn't to shame them back out of our own pain. And this goes the opposite way as well. I will not stand for it when women say, "Men are pigs." Not only is that not fair or true, but it comes from a place of that woman being in pain from the way men have treated her in the past.

Not only do we gain our own personal power by not taking things personally, but we also allow for compassion. It's in this compassion for one another that we can, together, be better. Better for ourselves, better for the world.

The song featured on the show is called, "Slow Burn" by Autograf.