Don’t Take Anything Personally
The Second Agreement
One of the first personal development books I ever read was
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I have subsequently reread it a few times
and pass it on for reading to friends every opportunity I get. It’s written simply,
exploring ordinary concepts for phenomenal growth.
We tend to take EVERYTHING personally! It’s exhausting how the mind gets tangled up in me,
me, me. It has to be about ME! Even the opinions we have about ourselves,
which are not necessarily true, we take personally.
What did I do, what didn’t I do? What should I have done, what shouldn’t I have done?
It’s all MY fault. We actually believe we have the power to make everything our fault and
in this we cause ourselves suffering.
Not only do we ask ourselves these questions but we ask anyone else who will
listen to us, to validate or rather invalidate our position.
“He didn’t message,” pouts Bev, “I really thought he liked me. Maybe I shouldn’t
have worn that dress or flirted with his friend?”
“I haven’t heard from Linda all day and she usually messages me, good morning,
as soon as she wakes up!” says Chris. ”I think I upset her yesterday with something I said.”
We are judged, criticised and have to listen to people’s opinions about us daily.
An angry boss, bad traffic and a slow moving cashier, ALL become personal!
The variations are endless and they can go on all day, focusing on just one of them
and all of its permutations. How much we suffer when we take things personally.
Guess what, people are not thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are!
They are too busy thinking about themselves. Nothing anyone does is about you, ever,
it’s always about them, always has been. Even when someone directly insults you,
it’s not about you, it’s a projection of them.
MINDFULNESS or mental diligence breaks the link between what we think and hear and
how we respond. In the gap between thoughts if we watch carefully we can stop
our habitual patterns and take responsibility for our moods, reactions, actions
and ultimately the level at which we allow others to affect our inner wellbeing.
No matter what we do or say, even down to what we wear, we will never please everyone.
We could expend a lot of energy trying though! There will always be people who will like us,
dislike us or remain neutral. The only person we have to please, in truth, is ourselves.
A happier you creates a happier world.
This does not imply being a doormat and allowing people to walk all over you but rather
remaining present to the circumstances without the need to be RIGHT or without the
need to PLEASE. Simply understanding that none of it has anything to do with you
and everything to do with them. NO one can upset us without us allowing them to!
There is always a choice to accept or reject someone’s behaviour, move on or draw a line.
Your choice, your power, your emotional wellbeing, your FREEDOM!
RESPOND vs REACT
You may think they are the same thing, but in fact they are literally worlds apart,
the one creates an entirely different reality from the other.
In every moment we have a choice to engage with life in love or in fear.
An event occurs, a trigger point – a glass breaks, the boss shouts, the kids left the kitchen
in a state (that’s a personal one lol), a traffic jam when we are running late. The list is endless,
almost every moment presents an opportunity for a reaction or a response.
A REACTION is our automatic gut reply to an event, it’s generally not logical, rational
or appropriate. We react to defend, it’s the instinctual unconscious behaviour of the reptilian brain.
It happens in an instant, without thought, a knee jerk reaction and usually emotionally charged.
The result is invariably the situation goes from bad to worse.
A RESPONSE is slower not so immediate, it’s more rational, it takes time to assess the
situation. Responses are conscious informed choices that result in a more compassionate
and kinder outcome.
The trigger event is still the same but the outcome is vastly different.
The process of moving from a reactive to a responsive position involves three simple steps:
When we react to something we don’t even stop to breathe before the words or actions
are in progress. BUT if we can recognise the trigger before we do or say anything,
even walk away if we have to until we have gained a sense of composure and
from this more centred place we get to choose what we do next.
The PAUSE is the KEY to being mindful, to catch your mind in that moment of
automated unconscious reaction. Do nothing but take ONE complete MINDFULL breath,
allow that to infuse your body and release, at the least, some of the tension.
Stopping and breathing relaxes the mind and from this place it’s easier to rationally
ASSESS the situation and do what is more appropriate from a compassionate perspective.
Reaction and response may look alike but they FEEL very different and have a totally
different long term effect. Creating a gap between the circumstances and your
behavior gives you a sense of having more control over your life and allows
for making better choices.
Rise In Love
Don’t fall in love, darling, rise in love!
Love is not something I am either in or out of, I do not fall in love nor subsequently fall out of love.
I just love, it’s a constant state of being. I am love.
We have this tendency to fall in love!
Falling is easy, love looks so inviting on the other side. In our rush to get there we forget
everything. The JUMP into love is intoxicating.
All of our ideals and fantasies about THE perfect love are projected onto our partners along
with our desperate desire to be loved. And so we FALL!
Once landed, realities harsh thud, we wake up to see that our ideas are just illusions
or perhaps delusions and that what we think love should look like is not what we fell into.
Our limiting ideas on love have been conditioned throughout the ages and so love
has become conditional. We have fallen for these conditions that cause us frustration,
resentment and pain.
To rise in love is to overcome all of these limiting beliefs. Love is unconditional,
it does not come pre-programmed.
Love is giving not just time and affection, but FREEDOM too. Freedom to stay or freedom
to go. Love is present in every unconditional moment. Rising in love is not about our partner
it is primarily about us. About finding our authentic selves underneath all of the barriers
we have placed on love.
The armouring makes our hearts HEAVY giving us no option but to FALL.
Deprogramming the love delusion makes love LIGHTER, our hearts freer, leaving the
only choice, to RISE.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
We Teach People How To Treat Us
Respect is Earned! Disrespect is Learned!
“He doesn’t respect me,” wails Amy, “I do so much for him and he let me down, again!
I don’t know what to do, he NEEDS to respect me!”
We TEACH people how to treat us, our partners, lovers, children, family, friends, staff, boss,
shop assistants, you get the idea.
Here's the BAD news (or GOOD news), they learn it from us!
DAMN hey! We ARE responsible for how other people treat us.
We feel it the most when it’s people close to us like family and partners as it tends to be in
our face all of the time. Children, spouse or lover.
Why does Amy feel disrespected? Amy needed Timmy, her son, to do something for her, but
Timmy decided to go out with his friends instead. I think a lot of us have experienced
this frustration from time to time
Respect is EARNED, even in the case of parents and children, respect is not a given,
it cannot be assumed. Children can pretend to respect their parents out of duty or fear
but it won’t be from an authentic place of honouring them.
Disrespect is LEARNED in three ways:
How We Treat Ourselves
Do we respect ourselves?
Do we have clearly defined boundaries?
Do we know how to nurture ourselves?
Do we make healthy choices?
Do we live from a place of integrity?
Do we have a sense of personal power?
How We Treat Others
Do we communicate our needs and wants clearly?
Do we give to get back?
Do we place conditions on love?
Do we respect others?
Do we impose consequences for bad behavior and stick to them?
How Others Are Witnessed Treating Us
Do other people treat us disrespectfully?
Do we accept disrespectful treatment from others?
All of these factors, and I am sure there are many more, form the basis of how people treat us,
with respect or disrespect, and all of them lead back to us. They have just been good
students they have studied us well. When we know and accept responsibility for our
outcomes we are able to begin to make the changes that honour us. Self-respect turns the key.
Why do we keep returning to the same relationships OVER and OVER again?
Much to the despair of friends and family who have watched and supported and listened
to our reasons to go and our reasons to stay, never mind our reasons to repeat!
We convince ourselves and all who will bear witness that we will not be doing THAT again! EVER!!
We believe it even if no one else does.
When a relationship breaks down suddenly, in ANGER, which let’s face it, is often the case,
there has been no opportunity to resolve our differences and find a place of peace in the parting.
Our partners know which BUTTONS to press to get a result. You insult me, I will insult you,
we gave each other the AMMO after all, and we shall both feel justified in our RIGHTNESS.
He did, she did, he said, she said…….
Both parties having sunk into unconsciousness there is only EGO and its reaction.
If however, one partner can hold just enough consciousness for both, the process can be halted. “Stop, Beloved”, she says, “don’t go, I love you.” The energy of conflict dissolves in that one moment of awareness. Relating resumes, harmony restored.
BUT, when 2 egos rise to meet each other there is only conflict, rightness, accusations and blame.
In most cases the relating ends abruptly with angry words and actions.
Anger provides no CHOICE POINT, the outcome is inevitable.
Depending on the individuals and the severity of the break down, we enter a cooling off period.
We got the outcome we thought we wanted but then why does it feel INCOMPLETE?
We sit in our pain and allow it to burn through the layers of anger, resentment, rightness,
self-doubt, insecurity, sadness and fear until we finally arrive at LOVE.
The armour falls and our hearts soften leaving a door open through which love can re-enter.
Love walks in an hour, a week, a month or even a year later.
Why? When you have reached a place of absolute “insanity” with this person do we let them
Making up has an energy all of its own.
We have conquered and surrendered in spite of everything. Until next time……….
And the pattern repeats.
In an attempt to restore harmony and resolve our issues the freshly formed scabs get picked at
and ripped off and we find ourselves once again in the loop of destruction and blame.
How do we break the cycle, HEAL the wounds, or finally DISSOLVE the relationship?
. Accept responsibility for it ALL. Yes, really, it’s all your fault not theirs! Ouch!
. Own the triggers, they may be pushing the buttons but they are YOUR buttons!
. Identify what it is they are able to hook into, what do we think NEED and or WANT from them
we feel we can’t get anywhere else.
. Assess your limiting beliefs eg I can’t get a job, I won’t make it on my own, no one else will
. And don’t forget the favourite, “I am staying because of the children.” Poor kids have to learn
that this is what love looks like.
. Reclaim your personal power, there is nothing more attractive than self-confidence, your
partner may even fall in love with you all over again.
From this place we finally arrive at a CHOICE POINT.
Stay OR Go!
The place to make the choice from is one where it no longer matters if you stay or if you go,
when there is no longer any energy running, pushing you to go or pulling you to stay. At this
point the struggle is over and it’s DONE.
Now we choose what serves our highest growth. Stay and evolve together or go and expand alone.
A choice that comes from anything other than a NEUTRAL place will draw you back in to balance
You Complete Me by Debbie Broadley
"I have met my other half, she fits me........"
You Complete Me
"I have met my other half, she fits me perfectly, she completes me," says Paul
"I am so happy and so in love, it's a dream come true," he continues.
Oh boy, I think as I muster up a forced smile. "Now you won't be lonely anymore", I tell him,
kicking myself under the table.
I have learnt through experience not to intercept people’s life lessons especially
when there is something very important to be learnt.
I have also found that when someone is experiencing a high they are much less likely to listen
to your damper, or rather your reality check.
An interesting observation is that people are more likely to listen to advice when they are
unhappy, so that would be prior or post relationship when they are either lonely or broken.
How often have you heard it said at a gathering with friends, better half or worse half,
referring to your mate, dependent on the current state of your relationship. It’s always meant
in jest, BUT what does it actually mean?
Well simply put, it means that without a partner we are incomplete, that's the common
garden variety point of view. That statement immediately sets us up for failure.
It tells us that society sees us as less than if we don't make at least some sort of
attempt to fill our missing pieces. The idea that someone should complete us is
central to the FAILURE of all relationships.
Conventional expectation would have boy meet girl or girl meet boy and then everyone
stays in their comfort zone, no sensibilities offended. Everything looks fairly normal
and so the community at large breathes a sigh of relief. Another piece of the puzzle
in place, so what if it was forced, it looks ok.
The old age love stories have happily ever after, the new age ones see two becoming one.
These stories are what have conditioned our BELIEFS throughout the ages.
At the point of, or even way before our first breath these days, we are slapped with our
first label, BOY or GIRL, and with that comes a whole lot of criteria pertaining to
pink or blue. A girl’s feminine aspect is nurtured and nourished and a boy’s masculine.
(I am generalising for the sake of the point).
The ERROR in all of this is that each and every one of us has both masculine and feminine
aspects, we are both, we ourselves are the 2 halves of our own WHOLE. If we have not
integrated both the yin and yang within ourselves, then it’s these aspects we are
attempting to bring into balance when we go out in search of a mate. While we look
for someone to complete us we end up meeting halves,
broken people just like us that need fixing.
At the extreme end a very feminine woman will seek out a very masculine man
to balance her feminine energy. A more masculine woman will look for a more
feminine man, and so on, it’s all about BALANCE.
Sounds as though this should work, doesn't it? Hmmmm, well, it does, up to a point.
The problem arises with the fact that whomever we are, we are only interested in our mate’s
ability to provide us with the half we haven't integrated. HEAVEN forbid they should show
us the parts of themselves we have already sorted. We have zero interest in that,
we never fell "in love" with that, "who the hell are you and what did you do with Sue?",
this is not what I signed up for!
Now that we know how we get it wrong, how then do we get it right?
This enigma called relationship!
We make OURSELVES our PRIMARY relationship. Fall "in love" with you, all of YOU.
The masculine and the feminine, the shadow and the light, the scars and the beauty,
ALL of it, perfections and imperfections.
YOU are the ONE in all of your complete magnificence. If you don't love yourself how
do you ever expect anyone else to love you? Get this relationship right and you
will never need to go in search of "love" again.
Self-love creates self-confidence, self-assurance, self-acceptance and all those other
empowering self-words. Your energy literally becomes magnetic,
there will be no need to look for love as LOVE WILL COME LOOKING FOR YOU.
Emotional Blackmail by Debbie Broadley
Be careful who you tell your secrets to.....
Be careful who you tell your secrets to. Not all is as it seems!
We meet the amazing other, someone we can share our hearts, homes, beds and beings with.
Intimacy engenders trust and as we learn to let go and rest in this beloved,
we come home to ourselves.
We breathe out, we belong here, this is what we have been searching for. I am home! I am safe!
In this unfolding our stories emerge, theirs and ours. Some resolved, some unresolved.
Together we have created a sacred space into which we can voice our deepest
fears and greatest joys.
We get validation and assurance that it’s all OK and that we are loved in spite of the scars.
And in that acceptance we are able to love ourselves a little more and so love them more.
The intention of love is always, always and forever. We never enter into relationship
anticipating it breaking.
No matter how beautiful or conscious the dance is that we are dancing, if for just a moment,
we miss a step, the dance stops!
On those rare occasions where we are no longer in harmony, and cannot resume the dance
the relationship breaksdown and breaksup.
This beloved, the receptacle of our love and trust now has two choices as to how to hold us,
either in love or in anger (which is ultimately fear).
Holding us in love, they thank us, love us, bless us and wish us peace, happiness and joy.
This love has no conditions.
Holding us in anger and fear however we become THE subject of their REVENGE.
As they hurt we should too! The deeper their pain, hurt and unresolved emotions
(none of which have anything to do with us), the greater the rage and the more
explosive the revenge.
The explosion, if they are focused enough in their anger, will be aimed at bringing
not only us DOWN but destroying everything we hold dear. This “love” is conditional,
which isn’t actually love at ALL.
What do we do as the target of emotional blackmail or revenge?
Usually the first emotion that arises in response to revenge is FEAR. This of course is
exactly the reaction they were hoping for. This is what they feed off and use to control you. FEAR!
The spiritual teachings tell us that only love is real and that fear is simply the absence of love.
If we drop the fear, they lose all of their power over us. It dissipates their control.
It’s like a tight rope with FEAR pulling one end and CONTROL the other.
If we drop our end of the rope, NOTHING remains. The connection is broken!
How do we put fear down?
One way is to accept everything exactly as it is, without trying to control the outcome.
Let it be what it is. In other words ACCEPTANCE.
Another way, which should never standalone but rather be the override switch on any other
emotion, is LOVE. Any act of rage, anger, revenge or “hate” is in fact A CALL FOR LOVE.
If we look beyond the bravado of the chest pounding, foot stomping, axe wielding madman
at what lies beneath it, we will find at the very root of all of this RAGE is a child having
a tantrum, wanting to be heard. It is easier to love the child when we understand that the
madman is just the external expression of this pain.
This is a PERSONAL STORY although I have replaced “I” with “We” as it is not just my story,
it’s the story of many of us who have been betrayed in love and trust.
I open my heart, always, hold nothing back. I love completely, surrender to that.
What is the point in only meeting love halfway, you will only have half an experience, what a waste!
I have told “my story”, opened the deepest parts, the greatest wounds in the telling of this is
who I have been, how I have learnt and what life has caused me to become.
In the breakdown of relating, not once, but twice I have experienced emotional blackmail,
or rather plain and simply, blackmail!
For the men who have done this to me I say:
I am sorry
I love you
Please forgive me
After A While - A Poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall 1971