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!