Today's post is a continuation from the book, The Four Agreements. I wrote about the first agreement the other day so today I thought I'd continue with the second agreement which is, "Don't Take Anything Personally." How easy is that for you? (or me, for that matter!)
First, I need to backtrack for just a minute. The premise of the author, Don Miguez Ruiz, is we are taught when we are young ( having no reference for those teachings,), the teachings are re-inforced and, good or bad, we believe them even sometimes to our detriment (in negative or abusive situations). The Four Agreements are a way to release us from our old patterns that aren't serving us well. The First Agreement was to "be impeccable with your word".
And now back to, "don't take anything personally." Could you imagine a life where no matter what anyone said to you didn't affect you? At first thought, I tend to think of it as dealing with negative words or actions so I'll cover that aspect first.
There have been a few times in my life where I have been "slapped in the face"(metaphorically, of course) and I wasn't hurt or angry. On looking back at those very few times, I think the reason I didn't react negatively to the other person was that I was in a good place. I could "see" that what was happening to me was not about me; it was more about the other person. (I am so grateful for those very few experiences to show me that it was possible to not feel angry towards after a personal attack) I do not want to be angry at anyone; mostly for personal reasons because I don't want to have to get rid of that feeling and I know that when I feel anger in my heart then I also need to repent.
Forgiving isn't always easy. When I was at a Rapid Eye Certification training, this subject was covered quite often and the words I remember from that are: it's "for- giving it back to God". (I could write a whole talk on "forgiving and repenting", but I would like to (at least in this post) cover the principle from The Four Agreements.
So back to the point of, "nothing other people do is because of you". Frankly, if we were all in a good place and choosing happiness we wouldn't "choose" to insult someone or to react angrily to that insult. I also think that if we were living from a place of love that we would consider others' feelings before we spoke or acted; however, we do not live in a perfect world.
Most of the time(at least in my experience) the things that I have to resist taking offense to come from those closest to me and done NOT intentionally. It's something to continue working on and I am seeing more opportunity for growth (okay, I'm ready for the "opportunity" to be over but I need to be grateful for any learning, right?) "No, I don't take it personally. Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me." don Miguel Ruiz
*** Now a quick thought on taking positive comments personally. When I read this book the first time, this aspect of the principle didn't even occur to me (guess I didn't read it "thoroughly"!) When I re-read this chapter, it really jumped out at me, and I think, subconciously, I've been feeling this lately. When we know who we are and are grateful for who we are, we do not need others to build us up! (wow, this is a lightbulb moment for me!) Because, when I receive a complement I love it! And maybe there's a difference between " loving" it and "needing" it to make us feel better? This could be a great discussion! (another disclaimer from me: I do not think that we should refrain from expressing positive comments to others; I think that as the receiver of the comment I will see you coming from a place of love and my head won't grow big because of your comment!)
I am grateful to be writing about this because I know as I focus on staying true with my words and staying in a place of love that I will be able to be more successful at "not taking anything personally".
"Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don't take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don't take anything personally. Even if someone got a gun and shot you in the head, it was nothing personal. Even at that extreme." Okay, that is extreme, but I think you get the picture.